Structure, Agency and Outcomes: Power Dynamics Following Technological Change



Technological innovation can shape organizational structure, by affecting the structure of interaction patterns between co-workers. But does change in interpersonal interactions shape the distribution of power in the entire system? In this study, we collected longitudinal data in a hospital department to investigate whether and how network structure combines with individual agency in predicting power dynamics following technological change. As a baseline hypothesis, we found that network structure predicted power dynamics: individuals occupying brokerage positions in the advice network before technological change were more likely to enhance their power following the change. Then, we found that personality, in terms of self-monitoring, and motivation, in terms of striving for status, interacted with each other and with structural position in affecting power dynamics. The overall picture painted by these results is one of network structure and individual agency shaping power dynamics in a process in which the micro-order of interactions interplays with macro-level change.