Social Networks in Emerging Work Models
Purpose: The outbreak of the COVID-19 forced companies to transform from the on-site work model to the remote or hybrid ones. This paper analyzes threats and challenges resulting from changes in the network structures before and during the pandemic-driven emergence of new work models. Design/Methodology/Approach: This study compares the structure of the social networks in three different work models, (a) office work model before COVID-19, (b) remote work model after the outbreak of coronavirus, and (c) hybrid work model during some of the pandemic restrictions loosening. Research is based on series of experiments conducted in the frame of strategic business simulations. In our approach, the primary source of information where people with their knowledge, behaviors, and points of view. Findings: Our findings confirm the early stage of remote and hybrid work model proficiency among managers and shed light on emerging threats for organizational transformation and innovation capability in such distributed work models. Practical Implications: New work models need to be deeply verified and improved. In the reality of distributed work models, we believe that analyzing social networks will become a critical approach used in organizations to understand weak ties forming their innovation and transformation capabilities. Originality/Value: We used the opportunity of ongoing longitudinal research during which the COVID-19 outbreak occurred. We recorded and analyzed disruptive changes in the social networks of competing teams during pandemic-caused transformations. We found the importance and threats of fragile social ties for organizations operating under distributed work models for innovation and transformation capabilities.