A Social Network Perspective on Team Members’ External Learning

Chuding Ling, Yuen Lam Bavik, Xiaoyun Xie

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review


Members in organizational teams increasingly engage in external learning activities. Although several studies have adopted a motivational approach to investigate the antecedents of external learning, we know little about how social structural factors can promote or constrain an individual’s opportunities to engage in different forms of external learning. Drawing on social network theory, we build and test a social network model of external learning. Using multiple-source and multiple-wave survey data, we found that density of an individual’s external network was positively related the individual’s vicarious learning, while betweenness centrality of an individual in his/her external network was positively associated with the individual’s contextual learning. Additionally, we further revealed that an individual’s experience depth strengthened the positive association between density and vicarious learning. In contrast, an individual’s experience breadth magnified the positive relationship between betweenness centrality and contextual learning. In so doing, we link and extend theories across social network and external learning as well as provide insights about how teams could capitalize the informational utilities available in the external network.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAcademy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings
PublisherAcademy of Management
ISBN (Electronic)2151-6561
ISBN (Print)0065-0668
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019
Event79th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management - Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Duration: 9 Aug 201913 Aug 2019


Conference79th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBoston, Massachusetts

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