Network Ties and Organizational Action: Explaining Variation in Social Service Provision Patterns

Brad Fulton


This study integrates social capital theory and network analysis to explore the relationship betweeninterorganizational networks and organizational action. It analyzes the collaborative partnerships that religiouscongregations form to provide social services, and it examines how these ties are associated with the number andtypes of programs they offer. Using cross-sectional and panel data from a national study of congregations, theanalysis finds significant relationships between congregations’ interorganizational ties and their social serviceprovision patterns. Congregations that collaborate with other organizations offer more programs, and the effect iseven greater for congregations with a diverse portfolio of collaborators. Furthermore, a network analysis indicatesthat congregations with a similar portfolio of collaborators offer a similar menu of services. This study demonstratesthat an organization’s collaborative ties, above and beyond its internal characteristics, are significantly associatedwith both the volume and scope of its activity.

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Management and Organizational Studies  ISSN 2330-5495 (Print)  ISSN 2330-5509 (Online)

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