Andrew Hoffman, University of Michigan

Lecture Title: 
Structure and Role Heterogeneity in Organizational Fields: Evolving Board Interlocks in the Environmental Movement
Speaker(s): 
Andrew Hoffman, Management & Organizations; School of Natural Resources; Associate Director of the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise
Semester: 
Winter 2009
Lecture Time: 
Friday, February 6, 2009 (All day)
Lecture Location: 
Room K1310, Ross School of Business
Abstract: 
Structure and Role Heterogeneity in Organizational Fields: Evolving Board Interlocks in the Environmental Movement This study examines the heterogeneity of social structuring within organizational fields and the multiple roles played by individual actors in influencing change processes. Making use of the tools of social network analysis, we conduct an empirical examination of the shifting patterns of engagement between environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs) and corporations and foundations by studying board interlocks over a five year period between 2000 and 2005. Predicated on the idea that action for the ENGO is motivated by the position it occupies within the social structure, we reintroduce the notion of the organization-set to identify individual engagement patterns. Over the period of study, we found that nearly half of ENGOs have no interlocks with corporations and foundations, while the rest are connected through a range of structural positions from weak ties to highly central, highly linked positions. In analyzing these differing structures of engagement, we describe five different role types -- isolate (two types), peripheral, liaison and portal – based on patterns of engagement. In presenting these roles, we elaborate on their strategic implications for ongoing change processes.