The Behavioral Dimension of Governing Inter-Organizational Goal Directed Networks: Managing the Unity/Diversity Tension
Network management research documents how network members engage in activities to advance their own goals. However, this literature offers little insight into the nature of work that aims to advance the goals of the network as a “whole.” By examining the behavioral dimension of network governance, this article identifies a specific tension that network leaders address to effectively govern networks: although unity and diversity are essential to network performance, each makes contradictory demands which require attention. Findings from four case studies of immigrant networks in the United States point to three activities representing mechanisms that staff of network administrative organizations use to address this (network level) managerial tension. The study proposes that unity versus diversity represents a distinct challenge to the governance of networks that requires strategic action at the whole-network level and merits further study.