MIT Sloan Management Review Article on The Outsider Edge

  • 11m
  • Peter Cappelli, Tracy Anderson
  • MIT Sloan Management Review
  • 2021

Scholars have been examining the role of relationships in managerial work for decades. Managers are not individual contributors, after all. They lead projects, operate business units, and coordinate activity — in short, they get things done through others.

Back when social theorist Max Weber explained how bureaucracies function, managers did all this largely by relying on formal authority over subordinates. Since then, they’ve expanded their toolkits to include other forms of influence, such as calling in favors, drawing on shared values and experiences, and offering (or at least implying) reciprocal back-scratching. Such exercises in social power are rooted in the relationships managers have with others in the organization — their bosses, direct reports, and peers.

About the Author

Tracy Anderson is an assistant professor of management and technology at Bocconi University in Milan.

Peter Cappelli is a professor of management at the Wharton School and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

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  • MIT Sloan Management Review Article on The Outsider Edge