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I am writing to announce a forthcoming special issue of Organization Studies
( on "The transformative and innovative power of
network dynamics" (please see detailed description below). A workshop
related to the special issue will be held on the first day of an upcoming
conference on management and social networks (16-17 Feb., 2012, Geneva:

*Organization Studies*   Call for Papers   Special Issue on  ‘The
transformative and innovative power of network dynamics’

* *

*Guest Editors: *

Stewart Clegg  (University of Technology, Sydney)

Emmanuel Josserand (University of Geneva)

Ajay Mehra  (University of Kentucky)

Tyrone Pitsis (University of Technology, Sydney)

* *

*Deadline for paper submissions: September 2013*

Once a fringe concern for organization scholars, largely of interest to
community and social movement scholars, the study of social networks has
taken centre-stage across a range of disciplines, from physics (e.g.,
Newman, Barabasi, & Watts, 2006) to economics (e.g., Jackson, 2008). This
explosion in popularity is perhaps nowhere more visible than in the field of
management where network research has already generated a “large research
tradition” (Brass, Galaskiewicz, Greve, & Tsai, 2004: 809).

Research interested in the dynamically complex nature of networks is
attracting increasing attention – As seen with the special issue of
Organization Science in 2008. The dynamism of social networks constitutes
“the new social morphology of our societies ... power of flows takes
precedence over the flows of power” (Castells, 1996:500). Informed by
Castells, we can say that we live in a a network society, but also that it
is a network society of increasingly networked organizations. With advances
in technologies, networks are constantly changing and co-evolving,
presenting agential properties that make them significant social actants.

Networks are powerful carriers of new social norms, values and practices
that contribute to innovative institutionalization. In this sense, networks
can be tools to influence context, corresponding to the practices of network
entrepreneurs. By creating and generating new flows through networks they
create and maintain a contextual situation favourable to their objectives.
But even in such flows, networks are still often considered as inert and
invariant diffusion channels (Owen-Smith & Powell, 2008). While networks are
inherently dynamic, their connections are not always positive – they can
become a liability, due to shifts in the environment; conversely, they can
show unexpected relevance, leading to innovation and transformations, be it
organizational, inter-organizational or social, as events shape their
relevance and acuity. Transformation initially encouraged by an actor or
actors through networks can become a threat, creating resistance and

Networks, therefore, are not as manageable or as predictable as some
organization theorists might suggest, and research on the management of
network dynamics is underdeveloped. There is valid reason for this lack of
knowledge: network transformation is a complex phenomenon and its
measurement and analysis – let alone the challenges of collecting
longitudinal network data – pose many problems, both technical and
conceptual (for a review, see Doreian & Stokman, 2005). New insight can
therefore be gained by considering networks as agential actors, and not only
as structures (Keck and Sikkink, 1998, Kahler, 2009). Organizations often
fail in network transformations because they tend to stick to the illusion
that networks are instrumental webs that provide reliable and stable access
to resources and manageable and predictable innovations. They thus neglect
the power of networks and their transformative force as social actants. From
political resistance in totalitarian states to communities of consumers,
networks have always been core in shifting the flows of power.

The purpose of this special issue is to understand the organizational and
societal implications of social networks in action. Our goal is to publish
thoughtful and provocative papers that advance our ability to conceptualize,
measure, manage and advise network emergence and evolution within and across
organizational boundaries, as well as to assess the impact of such networks
on society. Although our aim is to be broadly inclusive, we are especially
interested in papers that advance understanding of the management of network
dynamics and resulting power relations within and between organizations. We
invite contributions from organizational scholars, irrespective of their
theoretical or methodological orientation, that cover questions such as the

   - How do actors (be they individuals, groups, or organizations) envision
   and manage the evolving agential properties of social networks to achieve
   desired ends?
   - What are the potential risks and rewards when managing network
   dynamics? Can network dynamics be managed at all?
   - How do actors react to attempts to appropriate or alter their networks?
   What forms does resistance take and what are its consequences and dynamics?
   - What are the ethics in practice of network management?
   - What are the consequences of network changes at one level of analysis
   for outcomes at other levels of analysis?  For example, what are the
   interaction effects of network boundaries?
   - How does a formal interorganizational network influence the emergence
   and evolution of informal networks, and how do the two co-evolve over time?
   - How do new forms of networks shift the flows of power in organizations
   and society? How can we better understand shifts of power and development of
   resistance from a network perspective?
   - How do practices within networks, and evolving network practices
   contribute to organizational innovation and more broadly to the introduction
   of innovative practices in society?

This list of questions is clearly suggestive rather than exhaustive. Again,
we welcome submissions irrespective of their disciplinary or methodological
orientation as long as they are consistent with our broad goal of advancing
our understanding of the management of network dynamics and its impact on


Brass, D.J., Galaskiewicz, J., Greve, H.R., & Tsai W. (2004). Taking stock
of networks and organizations: A multilevel perspective. Academy of
Management Journal, 47, 795-819.

Castells, M. (1996) The Rise of the Network Society, The Information Age:
Economy, Society and

Culture Vol. I. Cambridge, MA, Oxford, UK: Blackwell.

Doreian, P., & Stokman, F.N. (2005). Evolution of Social Networks.
Routledge, London.

Jackson, M. O. (2008) Social and economic networks. Princeton University
Press, Princeton.

Kahler, M. (Ed.) (2009) Networked politics : agency, power, and governance,
Ithaca, Cornell University Press.

Keck, M. E. & Sikkink, K. (1998) Activists beyond borders : advocacy
networks in international politics, Ithaca, N.Y., Cornell University Press.

Newman, M., Barabasi, A., & Watts, D.J. (2006) The structure and dynamics of
networks. Princeton University Press, Princeton.

Owen-Smith, J. & Powell, W.W. (2008) Networks and Institutions. In R.
Greenwood, Oliver, C., Sahlin, K. & Suddaby, R. (Eds.) The SAGE Handbook of
Organizational Institutionalism. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks,


Please submit papers as email attachments (MicrosoftWord files only) to the
Editorial Office [log in to unmask], indicating in the e-mail the title of
the Special Issue. Please prepare manuscripts according to the guidelines
shown at<>
. All papers will be blind reviewed following OS’s normal review process and
criteria. Any papers accepted for publication but not included in the
Special Issue will be published later, in a regular issue.

For further information please contact one of the Guest Editors for this
Special Issue:

Stewart Clegg

Email: [log in to unmask]
Phone: +61 2 9514 3934
Fax: +61 2 9514 3312
Mailing address: UTS, PO Box 123, Broadway NSW 2007, Australia

Ajay Mehra
Associate Professor
LINKS, International Center for Research on Social Networks in Business
Gatton College of Business and Economics, 455R
University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY 40506-0034

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