Conceptualizing and validating organizational networking as a second-order formative construct

Sabrina C. Thornton, Stephan C. Henneberg, Peter Naudé

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Based on an existing conceptualization in the literature, this study operationalizes the construct of organizational networking, through a rigorous two-stage scale construction and validation process. Organizational networking refers to firm behaviors, i.e. the activities/routines/practices, which enable an organization to make sense of and capitalize on their networks of direct and indirect business relationships. We conceptualize the measurement model as a second-order formative construct with four first-order reflective constructs based on a four-dimensional view of organizational networking comprising information acquisition, opportunity enabling, strong-tie resource mobilization and weak-tie resource mobilization. The scale validation was undertaken at the first- and second-order levels. The result confirms the four distinct first-order measurement models. At the second-order level, a MIMIC (multiple indicators and multiple causes) model was employed to assess the validity of the formative measurement model. The results suggest that all four components significantly contribute to the overarching construct of organizational networking, with strong-tie resource mobilization being the most important contributor. Thus, our operationalization confirms the uniqueness of the different dimensions of organizational networking that should be configured as a strategy of sensing and seizing opportunities in the network. The organizational networking scale will provide future research with a basis to explore different strategic patterns of networking behaviors in varying contexts, and its role in relation to other organizational behaviors and outcome variables, such as firm performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)951-966
Number of pages16
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Issue number6
Early online date23 May 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2014


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