Culture, Cognition, and Collaborative Networks in Organizations

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Culture, Cognition, and Collaborative Networks in Organizations

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Title: Culture, Cognition, and Collaborative Networks in Organizations
Author: Srivastava, Sameer; Banaji, Mahzarin R.

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Citation: Srivastava, Sameer B., and Mahzarin R. Banaji. 2011. Culture, Cognition, and Collaborative Networks in Organizations. American Sociological Review 76, no. 2: 207–233.
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Abstract: This article examines the interplay of culture, cognition, and social networks in organizations with norms that emphasize cross-boundary collaboration. In such settings, social desirability concerns can induce a disparity between how people view themselves in conscious (i.e., deliberative) versus less conscious (i.e., automatic) cognition. These differences have implications for the resulting pattern of intra-organizational collaborative ties. Based on a laboratory study and field data from a biotechnology firm, we find that (1) people consciously report more positive views of themselves as collaborative actors than they appear to hold in less conscious cognition; (2) less conscious collaborative–independent self-views are associated with the choice to enlist organizationally distant colleagues in collaboration; and (3) these self-views are also associated with a person’s likelihood of being successfully enlisted by organizationally distant colleagues (i.e., of supporting these colleagues in collaboration). By contrast, consciously reported collaborative–independent self-views are not associated with these choices. This study contributes to our understanding of how culture is internalized in individual cognition and how self-related cognition is linked to social structure through collaboration. It also demonstrates the limits of self-reports in settings with strong normative pressures and represents a novel integration of methods from cognitive psychology and network analysis.
Published Version: doi:10.1177/0003122411399390
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