Contingency Effects of National Culture and Institutions on How Social Networks Influence Individual Creativity
2019-05-20 09:22:43
by Carl Fey, Aalto University School of Business

Friday, May 17, 2019 | 10:00am-11:30am | Room 333, HSBC Business School Building


While the role of social networks in organizations has received considerable attention, researchers have paid less attention to how national culture and institutional differences across countries influence how networks work. To help fill this gap, in this paper we examine how a host country’s national cultural and institutional context impact the relationship between an individual’s social network (ties and position) and creativity in a multinational organization. Hypotheses are tested using hierarchical level modeling using unique sociocentric data from one multinational organization of 1698 individuals (1436 respondents) in 28 subsidiaries in 17 countries around the world. Results suggest that national culture (uncertainty avoidance and individualism) and institutional context (regulative institutions) significantly impact this relationship. For example, we find that the strength of regulatory institutions in a host country moderates the relationship between structural holes and individual creativity such that being in a strong regulative institutional country facilitates creativity for individuals who bridge structural holes in the multinational. Our findings call into question the ability to generalize social network theories across different macro-contexts.