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Sociological Perspectives


University of California Press

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This study examines how the overlap between informal and formal networks in the workplace is related to the degree of attachment for individuals in work organizations. Two types of informal networks, identified by their content and structure, are commonly found in work organizations: friendship networks and trust networks. Both the content of networks and the coupling (or overlap) of individual member networks with formal authority networks are important for two kinds of attachment, organizational identification and organizational internalization. Data from a survey of employees in five, small, start-up organizations were collected during 1997 and early 1998. Tight coupling between friendship networks and formal authority networks is found to have a strong positive relationship to organizational identification. Tight coupling between trust and formal authority networks is also found to be strongly and positively related to both organizational identification and internalization. Additionally, tight coupling between trust networks and formal authority networks is more influential in predicting identification than coupling between friendship networks and formal authority networks.




Published as Kuipers, Kathy J. 2009. “Formal and Informal Network Coupling and its Relationship to Workplace Attachment.” Sociological Perspectives. 52, 4: 455-79. © 2009 by Pacific Sociological Association. Copying and permissions notice: Authorization to copy this content beyond fair use (as specified in Sections 107 and 108 of the U. S. Copyright Law) for internal or personal use, or the internal or personal use of specific clients, is granted on behalf of the Pacific Sociological Association for libraries and other users, provided that they are registered with and pay the specified fee via Rightslink® on JSTOR ( or directly with the Copyright Clearance Center,"

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