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Intra-organizational networks for innovation

11 September 2012

Innovation is the capability of organizations to renew themselves and forms the epitome of competitive advantage. Yet, structuring innovation is more often seen as a ’contradictio in terminis’ than as a viable strategic objective for corporate management.

A prime reason for this discrepancy is that generating innovative outcomes remains a core competence entrenched in human cooperation. The underlying network structures are deemed indispensable as they provide access to relevant organizational resources and foster wider organizational support.

In his thesis, Rick Aalbers explores the relation between both formal and informal human collaboration within organizations from an intra-organizational network perspective as a means to organize these intra-organizational networks for innovation. He focuses on the network behavior of individuals as they position themselves in the wider organizational innovation arena. Much of the prior research on innovation has emphasized the role of the innovation community as an entity of its own. Aalbers on the other hand particularly articulates the behavior and network antecedents displayed at the individual level, such as horizontal and vertical connectedness, multiplexity of one’s ties, motivation and various structural network positions to determine what characteristics define an employee’s involvement with intra-organizational innovative knowledge transfer. 

He also addresses the evolution of these intra-organizational networks as they progress in time as he examines the way in which managerial intervention in these networks might affect intra-organizational innovative potential over time. As such, this dissertation is nested in what is formally defined as network theory, examining the mechanisms and processes that interact with network structures to yield particular outcomes for individuals and groups.


Curriculum vitae
Rick Aalbers (Zwolle, 1980) studied economics and business at Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam. He conducted his research at the FEB. He will be awarded his PhD on 13 September (2.30pm). Thesis supervisors are prof. W.A. Dolfsma and prof. R.T.A.J. Leenders and the thesis title: Organizing intra-organizational networks for innovation. Aalbers is currently manager at Deloitte Consulting and researcher at the FEB.

Last modified:04 July 2014 9.33 p.m.

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