Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration (PhD)

Degree Level





Jennifer Kish-Gephart

Committee Member

Jonathan Johnson

Second Committee Member

Anne O'Leary-Kelly


ego network analysis, habitus, social class, social networks, sociocultural


Organizations are a key venue where individuals from different backgrounds have the opportunity to interact and yet we know very little about how social class background shapes interactions within the workplace. There is reason to believe that the differing value systems of social class groups influence their attitudes and behavior towards workplace connections and relationship formation. This article considers how social class background affects organizational social networks as well as the class-distinct values and attitudes that shape networking behavior of employees. To study this phenomena, I analyze a sample of 490 employees from a broad range of roles and organizations across the United States to find that (a) the attitudes toward networking and openness to friendship vary by class groups and mediate social class’s effect on network outcomes; (b) social class background does not appear to affect degree centrality but does affect class composition; and (c) social class mobility and institutional agency moderate these relationships. Additionally, I provide quantitative support that the middle social class hold central positions within organizations, particularly in connecting the lower and upper social class to one another, and thus merit more careful consideration by organizations and in future research.