Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton 2021

5 Networking

Peter Winkler


This chapter discusses the dual role of management communication in networking, understood as initiating and maintaining informal reciprocity relations in and around organizations. Drawing on cases from the literature, the chapter argues that in a stage of network initiation, managers facilitate informal network approximation by preserving uncertainty and indecision, while in a stage of network maintenance, they start to exploit emergent valuation orders in networks by making them explicit, scalable, and controllable. Previous management literature studied conditions, features, and functions of networking from an essentialist and structuralist perspective. This chapter points at promising paths for future research when studying networking from an explicitly communication-centered lens. The chapter starts with a critical overview of extant networking scholarship, it then introduces the sociology of Harrison White as key reference, and finally it elaborates on the role of management communication in the stages of network initiation and maintenance.

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