In organizations, social networks (e.g., friendship and communication) not only facilitate individual communication in an organizational landscape but also are salient arenas where individuals influence one another when they determine work-related attitudes and behaviors. In this thesis, I argue that organizational friendship and communication networks can function in unwanted ways that foster (rather than inhibit) social influence among organizational members to engage in social undermining behaviors. I integrate the network theory of social influence into extant work on social influence of undermining behaviors in the workplace and propose that (1) network peers influence individuals' social undermining such that level of network peer undermining is positively related to individual undermining and (2) contextual characteristics (behavioral and structural characteristics of social networks) and personality traits (self-monitoring and core self-evaluation) further condition the network peer influence. In addition, I articulate three network-based proximity influence mechanisms--direct contact, group cohesion, and structural equivalence--whereby network peers influence individuals' undermining behaviors. I did not find support for the relationship between level of network peer undermining and individual undermining; but the relationship is found to be contingent on the contextual characteristics and personality traits. I also found that the three influence mechanisms contribute to similarity on undermining among organizational members. I discuss the implications as well as limitations and future directions of this thesis.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. May 2010. Major: Human Resources and Industrial Relations. Advisor: Michelle K. Duffy. 1 computer file (PDF): ix, 147 pages, appendices I-II. Ill. (some tables)
Peer Influence on Undermining Behaviors in the Workplace: A Social Network Perspective..
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