Changing Organizations

Business Networks in the New Political Economy


David Knoke

First Edition • January 1, 2001 • 496 pages


Print ISBN: 9780813334530 • $58.00 USD$49.99 CAN

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Efforts by American companies to adapt to intense environmental pressures, arising from incessant technological innovation and fierce competition across global product markets, are dramatically changing how firms and their employees work. Daily headlines blare about corporate downsizings, strategic alliances, joint ventures, acquisitions and mergers, huge CEO bonuses despite stagnant wages and rising inequality. The economists’ utility-maximizing efficiency theory offers useful but incomplete explanations of these events. Through its depiction of organizational activity as a socially constructed complex of institutions, the structural perspective on organizational change contributes crucial insights. It reveals how relationships among workers and organizations, embedded in complex network patterns, generate social capital, shape career opportunities, and change global competition between corporations and nations.

In Changing Organizations David Knoke examines the formation of intra- and inter-organizational networks and their impact on the fates of employees, companies, and communities. He explores hot the network perspective — when used in conjunction with ecology, institutionalism, power and resource dependence, transaction cost economics, organizational learning, and evolutionary theories — contributes to a more comprehensive explanation of organizational transformations. Written in an accessible narrative style for advanced undergraduate students in sociology, public policy, and business management courses, it draws heavily from contemporary cases to illustrate ideas. The book also offers readers a careful exposition of basic structural and network concepts and principles.


David Knoke is a professor of sociology at the University of Minnesota.

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