Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Business and Economics



First Advisor

Dr. Giuseppe Labianca

Second Advisor

Dr. Daniel J. Brass


In a field social network study of 141 employees in an international organization, I examined individuals’ future desires to either collaborate more intensely with existing network partners or seek out new partners based on the latent value of these social ties – the potential social capital that will be generated from strengthening or building a tie in terms of reducing their formal workflow dependencies on others. Employees tended to desire more intense collaboration with a constraining existing tie (i.e., a bottleneck in their existing workflow network) when they trusted the person, suggesting they believed that the partner would provide high-quality work inputs in a reliable manner once a stronger relationship was built, thus increasing the tie’s latent relational value. Building new ties was more likely to happen when it would reduce one’s workflow dependencies by detouring around the bottlenecking person and closing disadvantageous structural holes, suggesting those new potential ties had greater latent structural value as they allow the focal individual to reach out to other workers further upstream in the workflow network. When comparing the intentions to use both approaches, the bypassing, structural approach was more prevalent than the tie strengthening approach for reducing workflow dependencies, in spite of the inherent additional costs of searching and building a new tie. The study illustrates how informal networks are used intentionally to ameliorate the deficiencies of the formal organizational workflow network and suggests the relative prominence of the latent structural value of ties as compared to their relational value.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)