UCL School of Management

Research project

Cognition and social networks


Social network research reveals the structure beneath the content of social relations but has neglected the importance of perceptions. My research shows it is the perceived friend that enhances your reputation in an organization rather than the actual friend (Kilduff & Krackhardt, 1994). We over-perceive friendship reciprocation and the extent to which our friends are friends with each other (Krackhardt & Kilduff, 1999). We erroneously perceive people clustered into groups (Kilduff, Crossland, Tsai, & Krackhardt, 2008). These biases affect our leadership (Balkundi & Kilduff, 2005) and the performance of ourselves and others in teams (Brands & Kilduff, in press).


This research has reoriented social network scholarship in organizations toward the micro foundations of social network patterns. Perceptions of networks are important in their own right, but they also have effects on outcomes  such as the performance of ourselves and others. If leaders want to harness the energies of their employees, acuity of perception with respect to the social patterns in the workplace is important.

Selected publications

Kilduff, M., Crossland, C., Tsai, W., & Krackhardt, D. (2008). Organizational network perceptions versus reality: A small world after all?. ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR AND HUMAN DECISION PROCESSES, 107 (1), 15-28. doi:10.1016/j.obhdp.2007.12.003 [link]
Kilduff, M., & Krackhardt, D. (1994). BRINGING THE INDIVIDUAL BACK IN: A STRUCTURAL ANALYSIS OF THE INTERNAL MARKET FOR REPUTATION IN ORGANIZATIONS. Academy of Management Journal, 37 (1), 87-108. doi:10.2307/256771 [link]
Kilduff, M. (1990). The interpersonal structure of decision making: A social comparison approach to organizational choice. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 47 (2), 270-288. Elsevier BV. doi:10.1016/0749-5978(90)90039-c [link]
Kilduff, M., & Brass, D. J. (2010). Organizational Social Network Research: Core Ideas and Key Debates. ACADEMY OF MANAGEMENT ANNALS, 4, 317-357. doi:10.1080/19416520.2010.494827 [link]
Balkundi, P., & Kilduff, M. (2006). The ties that lead: A social network approach to leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 17 (4), 419-439. doi:10.1016/j.leaqua.2006.01.001 [link]
Ibarra, H., Kilduff, M., & Tsai, W. (2005). Zooming in and out: Connecting individuals and collectivities at the frontiers of organizational network research. ORGANIZATION SCIENCE, 16 (4), 359-371. doi:10.1287/orsc.1050.0129 [link]
Krackhardt, D., & Kilduff, M. (2002). Structure, culture and Simmelian ties in entrepreneurial firms. SOCIAL NETWORKS, 24 (3), 279-290. doi:10.1016/S0378-8733(02)00008-4 [link]
Krackhardt, D., & Kilduff, M. (1999). Whether close or far: Social distance effects on perceived balance in friendship networks. JOURNAL OF PERSONALITY AND SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY, 76 (5), 770-782. doi:10.1037//0022-3514.76.5.770 [link]
Kilduff, M., & Tsai, W. (2003). Social Networks and Organizations. SAGE Publications Limited.
Kilduff, M., & Krackhardt, D. (2008). Interpersonal Networks in Organizations: Cognition, Personality, Dynamics and Culture. Cambridge University Press.
Krackhardt, D., & Kilduff, M. (1990). Friendship Patterns and Culture: The Control of Organizational Diversity. American Anthropologist, 92 (1), 142-154. doi:10.1525/aa.1990.92.1.02a00100 [link]
Burt, R. S., Kilduff, M., & Tasselli, S. (2013). Social Network Analysis: Foundations and Frontiers on Advantage. ANNUAL REVIEW OF PSYCHOLOGY, VOL 64, 64, 527-547. doi:10.1146/annurev-psych-113011-143828 [link]
Cross, R., Kase, R., Kilduff, M., & King, Z. (2013). Bridging the Gap between Research and Practice in Organizational Network Analysis: A Conversation between Rob Cross and Martin Kilduff. HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT, 52 (4), 627-644. doi:10.1002/hrm.21545 [link]

Link to the publication’s UCL Discovery page

Last updated Thursday, 31 July 2014


Research groups

Organisations & Innovation

Research areas

Social psychology of organizations

Research topics

Group dynamics; Group processes; Interpersonal networks; Intra-organizational networks; Leadership; Social cognition; Social network microfoundations