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BEYOND DARK AND BRIGHT: TOWARDS A MORE HOLISTIC UNDERSTANDING OF INTER-GROUP NETWORKS

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Abstract

Networks are becoming a popular organizational form for structuring human activities. To date, scholars have addressed networks in a variety of fields, including sociology, economics, public administration, criminology, political science, and international security. However, little has been done so far to systematically examine the similarities, differences, and connections between network forms of organization across different academic disciplines. This has important implications for both theory and practice. The lack of attention paid to organizational similarities and differences prevents the exchange of knowledge developed across fields. In turn, policy-makers cannot take full advantage of existing research, and may miss opportunities to improve the work of some networks and combat that of others. To address this gap in the literature, this paper uses the combination of organizational environments and organizational goals to develop a new typology of inter-group networks, and thus improve our understanding of how human behaviour is coordinated through networks.

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