A network approach to leadership: To be or not to be redundant?

Jenny Lewis, Lykke Margot Ricard

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


Leaders’ ego-networks within an organization are pivotal as focal points that point to other organizational factors such as innovation capacity and leadership effectiveness. The aim of the paper is to provide a framework for exploring leaders’ ego-networks within the boundary of an organization. We examine two contradictory leadership strategies using social network theory: structural holes, where ego (the focal individual) benefits from brokering between two disconnected alters (low redundancy); and network closure, where ego is embedded in very dense local structures (high redundancy). Using a survey of senior administrators and politicians from Copenhagen municipality, we examine strategic information networks. Whole network analysis is used first to identify important individuals on the basis of centrality measures. The ego-networks of these individuals are then analysed to examine redundancy and effective size, and the potential for either divide and conquer or distributed leadership strategies. The empirical testing of this framework adds to our knowledge of the micro level role of individuals within networks. This will be used to examine the relationships between leadership, network structures and public sector innovation, in our future research. Ultimately, we aim to contribute to the literature on the emergence and development of social roles (especially the brokerage role), and to contribute to studies on innovation capacity in public organizations, through focusing on leadership in social network analytic terms.
Translated title of the contributionEn netværkstilgang til ledelse: at være eller ikke være redundant?
Original languageEnglish
Publication date30 Apr 2014
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2014
EventTransatlantic Dialogue: From Public Administration to XXI Century Collaborative Administration. The role of public networks - USI Università della Svizzera italiana, Lugano, Switzerland
Duration: 5 Jun 20147 Jun 2014


ConferenceTransatlantic Dialogue
LocationUSI Università della Svizzera italiana
Internet address

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