How do the networks of individuals
in groups and teams affect how successful those collectives
are? How do those networks evolve over time these basic questions
received a lot of attention in the 1950s, with experimental
work by Bavelas and colleagues in the Small Group Network
Laboratory in MIT, as well as Newcomb’s dormitory study
in Michigan. It was also an important component of the classic
Cave experiment in the 1960s. However, remarkably, research
focused at the nexus of teams/groups and social networks largely
disappeared from the 1960s to 2000, give or take. Probably
this reflects the fact that social network analysis, which
had a very active presence in social psychology in the 1950s
(Bavelas, Festinger, Newcomb, etc), largely shifted into sociology
in the 1960s and 1970s. In the last few years, with the enormous
increase in attention received by social network analysis,
there has been a modest resurgence of activity on the social
networks of small teams. Research by Nancy
Katz and me has been part of that emerging body of work.
In the first three papers below, we (in part together with
Holly Arrow and Noshir Contractor) review this literature,
highlighting particularly attractive avenues of research.
In the fourth paper, we import ideas from economic sociology—relational
and structural embeddedness— to examine how teams overcome
potential free rider problems. In the fifth paper (with Brian
Rubineau and Carol Chetkovich), we examine social influence
(1) Nancy Katz and David Lazer,
Effective Intra-Organizational Networks: The Role of Teams,"
Center for Public Leadership, Harvard University.
(2) Nancy Katz, David Lazer, Holly
Arrow, and Noshir Contractor, "Network Theory and
Small Groups," Small Group Research 35(3), June 2004.
(3) Nancy Katz, David Lazer, Holly
Arrow, and Noshir Contractor, "Network Theory and Group
Research," in Andrea Hollingshead and Scott Poole (eds),
Perspectives on Small Group Research, Sage: 2005.
(4) David Lazer and Nancy Katz,
"Regulating Effort: the role of embeddedness in teams" revising for resubmission to Academy of Management
(5) Brian Rubineau, David Lazer,
Nancy Katz, and Carol Chetkovich, "Birds of a Feather
or Dogs on the Tether: Distinguishing Social Influence from
Homophily," paper to be presented at the 2006 Sunbelt
**(For any of
the above articles without a link, please
for a PDF or hardcopy)
For more information, as well
as more papers, you can go to the
TeamNet project website.