According to recent organizational theories, external networking by managers is likely to reflect the external and internal characteristics of organizations. In particular, contingency theories assume that uncertain environments and innovative strategies lead to more external networking, while both contingency and structural hole theories suggest that networking is more likely in organizations with decentralized, informal, and specialized structures. Developing such explicit theoretical expectations is an important research objective, and an initial effort along these lines is provided by this article. We also test these expectations by analyzing environmental and organizational determinants of variations in external networking by managers of English local governments in 2007. The empirical results show that "loose" organizational structures and diverse stakeholder demands are positively associated with networking, but that defensive and reactive strategies, along with unpredictable stakeholder demands, are negatively associated.
- local government