Article written by 2007 DPDF The Political Economy of Redistribution Fellow Christopher S. Marcum, Christine A. Bevc, and Carter T. Butts, featured in Policy Studies Journal, Volume 40, No. 3:

The delegation of decision-making capacity from one actor to another—known variously as authority or control—is a central phenomenon of organizational sociology. Despite its theoretical and practical significance, however, the dynamics of control within disrupted settings (such as disasters) remain poorly understood. Here, we shed light on this question by a reexamination of historical data on multiorganizational disaster response networks, using recently developed statistical methods for robust inference from error-prone informant reports. Specifically, we test competing hypotheses about the relationship of control during the response process to the structure of interorganizational communication. We find that both the realized and normative response hierarchies are likely shaped by coordination among both nonadjacent alters and along indirect channels. Our results suggested that the communication structure of these networks is consistent with a control at a distance model of command. This article makes a substantial contribution to understanding the role of network structure in the emergence of control between organizations in disrupted settings. Additionally, our innovative approach to network inference will guide researchers in dealing with error-prone data in their own research on policy networks.

Publication Details

Mechanisms of Control in Emergent Interorganizational Networks
Marcum, Christopher S.
John Wiley & Sons
Publish Date
August 2012
Marcum, Christopher S., Mechanisms of Control in Emergent Interorganizational Networks (John Wiley & Sons, August 2012).