Transitivity, hierarchy and reciprocity of organizational communication network during crisis

Shahriar Tanvir Hasan Murshed, Shahadat Uddin, Liaquat Hossain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This paper aims to explore changes in communication networks during organizational crisis. In the literature, various terms such as organizational mortality, organizational death, bankruptcy, decline, retrenchment and failure have been used to characterize different forms and facets of organizational crisis. Communication network studies have typically focussed on nodes (e.g. individuals or organizations), relationships between those nodes and subsequent affects of these relationships upon the network as a whole. Email networks in contemporary organizations are fairly representative of the underlying communication networks. 

Design/methodology/approach: The changing communication network structure at Enron Corporation during the crisis period (2000-2001) has been analyzed. The goal is to understand how communication patterns and structures are affected by organizational crisis. Drawing on communication network crisis and group behaviour theory, three propositions are tested: communication network becomes increasingly transitive as organizations experience crisis; communication network becomes less hierarchical as organizations are going through crisis; and communication network becomes more reciprocal as organizations are going through crisis. 

Findings: In this research analysis, the support of these three propositions was noticed. The results of tests and their implications are discussed in this paper. 

Originality/value: This study builds on an emerging stream of research area that applies social network analysis to organizational interaction data to study various questions related to organizational change and disintegration. These findings could help managers in designing an effective approach to monitor regular functionalities of their organizations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-20
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Organizational Analysis
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


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