Bridging and Bonding: How Diverse Networks Influence Organizational Outcomes

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Although many organizations aspire to be diverse, both in their internal composition and external collaborations, diversity's consequences for organizational outcomes remain unclear. This project uses three separate studies to examine how diversity within and across organizations influences organizational outcomes. The first study uses original data from a national study of organizations to analyze how an organization's internal social composition is associated with its performance. It advances diversity-performance research by demonstrating how the mechanisms of social bridging and social bonding can work together within a diverse organization to improve its performance. The findings suggests that an organization can improve its performance by having socially diverse members who interact often and in ways that engage their social differences. The second study integrates social capital theory and network analysis to explore the relationship between interorganizational networks and organizational action. It uses cross-sectional and panel data from a national study of congregations to analyze the collaborative partnerships congregations form to provide social services. This study demonstrates that a congregation's network ties, net of the effects of its internal characteristics, are significantly associated with the number and types of social service programs it offers. The third study illustrates how an organization's external ties can shape its action by examining black churches and their responses to people living with HIV/AIDS. It uses data from a nationally representative sample of black congregations and draws on institutional theory to analyze congregations as open systems that can be influenced by their surrounding environment. This study indicates that black churches that are engaging their external environment are significantly more likely to have an HIV/AIDS program. Overall, by analyzing how individuals interact within organizations and how organizations interact with one another, these three studies demonstrate how diverse networks influence organizational outcomes.






Fulton, Brad Robert (2015). Bridging and Bonding: How Diverse Networks Influence Organizational Outcomes. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from


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