The Ties of Meeting Leaders: A Social Network Analysis


This study extends meeting research by applying social network analysis to meeting leaders’ behavior in actual, videotaped meetings (N = 46) and examining the position of meeting leaders in the meeting network. Analyses reveal that meeting leaders are key players in meetings taking on the roles of central actor, broker, and elicitor. The role of central actor is linked to the number of planned actions during the meeting whereas the role of elicitor is associated with participants’ satisfaction with the meeting leader and team productivity after the meeting. Our study highlights the different roles meeting leaders need to juggle to run meetings effectively.

Share and Cite:

Sauer, N. & Kauffeld, S. (2015). The Ties of Meeting Leaders: A Social Network Analysis. Psychology, 6, 415-434. doi: 10.4236/psych.2015.64039.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Amabile, T. M. (1996). Creativity in Context: Update to the Social Psychology of Creativity. Boulder, CO: Westview.
[2] Bakeman, R., & Quera, V. (2011). Sequential Analysis and Observational Methods for the Behavioral Sciences. New York: Cambridge University Press.
[3] Balkundi, P., & Harrison, D. A. (2006). Ties, Leaders, and Time in Teams: Strong Inference about Network Structure’s Effects on Team Viability and Performance. Academy of Management Journal, 49, 49-68.
[4] Balkundi, P., & Kilduff, M. (2006). The Ties That Lead: A Social Network Approach to Leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 17, 419-439.
[5] Baran, B. E., Shanock, L. R., Rogelberg, G., & Scott, C.W. (2011). Leading Group Meetings: Supervisors’ Actions, Employee Behaviors, and Upward Perceptions. Small Group Research, 43, 330-355.
[6] Bass, B. M., & Stogdill, R. M. (1990). Handbook of leadership. Theory, Research & Managerial Applications (3rd Ed.). New York, NY: Free Press.
[7] Bauer, V., & von der Reith, F. (2002). “ ... bei zuviel Mehrarbeit sage ich Nein!” Die Einfuhrung von teilautonomen Arbeitsgruppen auf der betrieblichen Ruttelstrecke. Harburger Beitrage zur Soziologie und Psychologie der Arbeit, 30.
[8] Baumeister, R. F., Vohs, K. D., & Funder, D. C. (2007). Psychology as the Science of Self-Reports and Finger Movements: Whatever Happened to Actual Behavior? Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2, 396-403.
[9] Bavelas, A. (1950). Communication Patterns in Task-Oriented Groups. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 22, 725-730.
[10] Bixler, S. (1991). Professional Presence. New York: Putnam.
[11] Bonito, J. A., & Hollingshead, A. B. (1997). Participation in Small Groups. In B. R. Burleson (Ed.), Communication Yearbook 20 (pp. 227-261). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
[12] Bonito, J. A., & Sanders, R. E. (2011). The Existential Center of Small Groups: Member’s Conduct and Interaction. Small Group Research, 42, 343-358.
[13] Borgatti, S. P. (2006). Identifying Sets of Key Players in a Social Network. Computational & Mathematical Organization Theory, 12, 21-34.
[14] Borgatti, S. P., Mehra, A., Brass, D. J., & Labianca, G. (2009). Network Analysis in the Social Sciences. Science, 323, 892-895.
[15] Borgatti, S. P., & Everett, M. G. (1999). Models of Core/Periphery Structures. Social Networks, 21, 375-395.
[16] Borgatti, S. P., Everett, M. G., & Johnson, J. C. (2013). Analyzing Social Networks. London: Sage.
[17] Bostrom, R. P., Anson, R., & Clawson, V. (1993). Group Facilitation and Group Support Systems. In L. Jessup, & J. Valacich (Eds.), Group Support Systems: New Perspectives (pp. 146-168). New York, NY: Van Nostrand Reinhold.
[18] Brass, D. J. (1984). Being in the Right Place: A Structural Analysis of Individual Influence in an Organization. Administrative Science Quarterly, 29, 518-539.
[19] Brass, D. J., Galaskiewicz, J., Greve, H. R., & Tsai, W. (2004). Taking Stock of Networks and Organizations: A Multilevel Perspective. Academy of Management Journal, 47, 795-817.
[20] Brodbeck, F. C., Kerschreiter, R., Mojzisch, A., & Schulz-Hardt, S. (2007). Group Decision Making under Conditions of Distributed Knowledge: The Information Asymmetries Model. Academy of Management Review, 32, 459-479.
[21] Burgess, R. L. (1968). Communication Networks: An Experimental Reevaluation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 4, 324-337.
[22] Burke, C. S., Stagl, K. C., Salas, E., Pierce, L., & Kendall, D. (2006). Understanding Team Adaptation: A Conceptual Analysis and Model. Journal of Applied Psychology, 91, 1189-1207.
[23] Burt, R. S. (1993). The Social Structure of Competition. In R. Swedberg (Ed.), Explorations in Economic Sociology (pp. 65-103). New York, NY: Russel Sage Foundation.
[24] Burt, R. S. (2004). Structural Holes and Good Ideas1. American Journal of Sociology, 110, 349-399.
[25] Carlozzi, C. (1999). Make Your Meeting Count. Journal of Accountancy, 187, 53-55.
[26] Cohen, M. A., Rogelberg, S. G., Allen, J. A., & Luong, A. (2011). Meeting Design Characteristics and Attendee Perceptions of Staff/Team Meeting Quality. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 15, 90-104.
[27] Coleman, J. S. (1990). Foundations of Social Theory. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
[28] Correll, S. J., & Ridgeway, C. L. (2003). Expectation States Theory. In J. Delamater (Ed.), Handbook of Social Psychology (pp. 29-51). New York: Springer.
[29] Csardi, G., & Nepusz, T. (2006). The Igraph Software Package for Complex Network Research. InterJournal 2006, Complex Systems, 1695.
[30] Cummings, J. N., & Cross, R. (2003). Structural Properties of Work Groups and Their Consequences for Performance. Social Networks, 25, 197-210.
[31] Dabbs, J. M., & Ruback, R. B. (1987). Dimensions of Group Process: Amount and Structure of Vocal Interaction. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 20, 123-169.
[32] DeRue, D. S., Nahrgang, J. D., Wellman, N., & Humphrey, S. E. (2011). Trait and Behavioral Theories of Leadership: An Integration and Metaanalytic Test of Their Relative Validity. Personnel Psychology, 64, 7-52.
[33] Druskat, V. U., & Wheeler, J. V. (2003). Managing from the Boundary: The Effective Leadership of Self-Managing Work Teams. Academy of Management Journal, 46, 435-457.
[34] Durham, C. C., Knight, D., & Locke, E. A. (1997). Effects of Leader Role, Team-Set Goal Difficulty, Efficacy and Tactics on Team Effectiveness. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 72, 203-231.
[35] Fox, W. M. (1957). Group Reaction to Two Types of Conference Leadership. Human Relations, 10, 279-289.
[36] Freeman, L. C. (2004). The Development of Social Network Analysis: A Study in the Sociology of Science. Vancouver, BC: Empirical Press.
[37] Friedkin, N. E., & Slater, M. R. (1994). School Leadership and Performance: A Social Network Approach. Sociology of Education, 67, 139-157.
[38] Goldberg, S. C. (1955). Influence and Leadership as a Function of Group Structure. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 51, 119-122.
[39] Granovetter, M. S. (1973). The Strength of Weak Ties. American Journal of Sociology, 78, 1360-1380.
[40] Guetzkow, H., & Simon, H. A. (1955). The Impact of Certain Communication Nets upon Organization and Performance in Task-Oriented Groups. Management Science, 1, 233-250.
[41] Haynes, M. E. (2006). Meeting Skills for Leaders: A Practical Guide for More Productive Meetings (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Course Technology.
[42] Henkel, S. (2007). Successful Meetings: How to Plan, Prepare, and Execute Top-Notch Business Meetings. Ocala, FL: Atlantic Publishing.
[43] Hoering, S., Kuhl, S., & Schulze-Fielitz, A. (2001). Homogenitat und Heterogenitat in der Gruppenzusammensetzung-Eine mikropolitische Studie uber Entscheidungsprozesse in der Gruppenarbeit. Zeitschrift fur Arbeitsforschung, Arbeitsgestaltung und Arbeitspolitik, 10, 331-351.
[44] Hoppe, B., & Reinelt, C. (2010). Social Network Analysis and the Evaluation of Leadership Networks. The Leadership Quarterly, 21, 600-619.
[45] Janicik, G. A., & Larrick, R. P. (2005). Social Network Schemas and the Learning of Incomplete Networks. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 88, 348-364.
[46] Jay, A. (1976). How to Run a Meeting. London: Video Arts Limited.
[47] Kamp, L. (1999). Gruppenarbeit: Betriebsund Dienstvereinbarungen; Analyse und Handlungsempfehlungen (Bd. 5). Dusseldorf: Hans-Bockler-Stiftung.
[48] Katz, N., Lazer, D., Arrow, H., & Contractor, N. (2004). Network Theory and Small Groups. Small Group Research, 35, 307-332.
[49] Kauffeld, S. (2006). Kompetenzen messen, bewerten, enwickeln [Measuring, Evaluating, and Developing Competencies]. Stuttgart: Schaffer-Poeschel.
[50] Kauffeld, S., & Lehmann-Willenbrock, N. (2012). Meetings Matter: Effects of Team Meetings on Team and Organizational Success. Small Group Research, 43, 130-158.
[51] Kelly, J. R., & Barsade, S. G. (2001). Mood and Emotions in Small Groups and Work Teams. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 86, 99-130.
[52] Kilduff, M., Tsai, W., & Hanke, R. (2005). The Dynamic Stability of Organizational Social Networks. Working Paper, Penn State.
[53] Korsgaard, A., Schweiger, D. M., & Sapienza, H. J. (1995). Procedural Justice and Changes in Psychological Contacts: A Study of Reenginering Planning. Academy of Management Proceedings, 354-358.
[54] Lavelle, J., Rupp, D., & Brockner, J. (2007). Taking a Multifoci Approach to the Study of Justice, Social Exchange, and Citizenship Behavior: The Target Similarity Model. Journal of Management, 33, 841-866.
[55] Leach, D. J., Rogelberg, S. G., Warr, P. B., & Burnfield, J. L. (2009). Perceived Meeting Effectiveness: The Role of Design Characteristics. Journal of Business and Psychology, 24, 65-76.
[56] Leavitt, H. J. (1951). Some Effects of Certain Communication Patterns on Group Performance. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 46, 38-50.
[57] Lehmann-Willenbrock, N., Allen, J. A., & Kauffeld, S. (2013). A Sequential Analysis of Procedural Meeting Communication: How Teams Facilitate Their Meetings. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 41, 365-388.
[58] Leung, C. C., & Chau, H. F. (2007). Weighted Assortative and Disassortative Networks Model. Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and Its Applications, 378, 591-602.
[59] Malouff, J. M., Calic, A., McGrory, C. M., Murrell, R. L., & Schutte, N. S. (2012). Evidence for a Needs-Based Model of Organizational-Meeting Leadership. Current Psychology, 31, 35-48.
[60] Mangold (2010). INTERACT Quick Start Manual V2.4. Mangold International GmbH (Ed.).
[61] McGuire, R. M. (2011). Weighted Key Player Problem for Social Network Analysis (No. AFIT-OR-MS-ENS-11-13). Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH, School of Engineering and Management.
[62] Mesmer-Magnus, J. R., & DeChurch, L. A. (2009). Information Sharing and Team Performance: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 94, 535-546.
[63] Mina, E. (2000). The Complete Handbook of Business Meetings. New York: American Management Association.
[64] Miranda, S. M., & Bostrom, R. P. (1999). Meeting Facilitation: Process versus Content Interventions. Journal of Management Information Systems, 15, 89-114.
[65] Mulder, M. (1959). Power and Satisfaction in Task-Oriented Groups. Acta Psychologica, 16, 178-225.
[66] Mullen, B., & Salas, C. J. (1991). Effects of Communication Network Structure: Components of Positional Centrality. Social Networks, 13, 169-185.
[67] Nelson, T., & McFadzean, E. (1998). Facilitating Problem-Solving Groups: Facilitator Competences. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 19, 72-82.
[68] Niederman, F., & Volkema, R. J. (1999). The Effects of Facilitator Characteristics on Meeting Preparation, Set Up, and Implementation. Small Group Research, 30, 330-360.
[69] Noreen, E. W. (1989). Computer Intensive Methods for Testing Hypotheses: An Introduction. New York: Wiley.
[70] Opsahl, T. (2009). Structure and Evolution of Weighted Networks (pp. 104-122). London: University of London (Queen Mary College).;
[71] Perkins, R. D. (2009). How Executive Coaching Can Change Leader Behavior and Improve Meeting Effectiveness: An Exploratory Study. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 61, 298-318.
[72] Putnam, L. L. (1983). Small Group Work Climates: A Lag-Sequential Analysis of Group Interaction. Small Group Behavior, 14, 465-494.
[73] Remdisch, S. (1998). Gruppenarbeit in der Automobilindustrie: Die Rolle der Meister und Gruppenleiter. Unveroffentlichte Dissertation, Giessen: Universitat Giessen.
[74] Richardson, A. J. (2009). Regulatory Networks for Accounting and Auditing Standards: A Social Network Analysis of Canadian and International Standard-Setting. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 34, 571-588.
[75] Rienks, R., Nijholt, A., & Barthelmess, P. (2009). Pro-Active Meeting Assistants: Attention Please! Ai & Society, 23, 213-231.
[76] Rogelberg, S. G., Allen, J. A., Shanock, L., Scott, C., & Shuffler, M. (2010). Employee Satisfaction with Meetings: A Contemporary Facet of Job Satisfaction. Human Resource Management, 49, 149-172.
[77] Rogelberg, S. G., Leach, D. J., Warr, P. B., & Burnfield, J. L. (2006). “Not Another Meeting!” Are Meeting Time Demands Related to Employee Well-Being? Journal of Applied Psychology, 91, 83-96.
[78] Romano, N. C., & Nunamaker Jr., J. F. (2001). Meeting Analysis: Findings from Research and Practice. Proceedings of the 34th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, 13.
[79] Sarangi, S., & Unlu, E. (2010). Key Players and Key Groups in Teams: A Network Approach Using Soccer Data. DIW Berlin Discussion Paper, 1053.
[80] Sauer, N. C., & Kauffeld, S. (2013). Meetings as Networks: Applying Social Network Analysis to Team Interaction. Communication Methods & Measures, 7, 26-47.
[81] Schultz, B., & Ketrow, S. M. (1996). Improving Decision Quality in the Small Group: The Role of the Reminder. In R. S. Cathcart, L. A. Samovar, & L. D. Herman (Eds.), Small Group Communication: Theory and Practice (7th ed., pp. 404-410). Dubuque, IA: Brown & Benchmark.
[82] Schwarz, R. (2012). The Skilled Facilitator Approach. In S. Schuman (Ed.), The IAF Handbook of Group Facilitation: Best Practices from the Leading Organization in Facilitation (pp. 21-34). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
[83] Schwarz, R., Davidson, A., Carlson, P., & McKinney, S. (2005). The Skilled Facilitator Fieldbook: Tips, Tools, and Tested Methods for Consultants, Facilitators, Managers, Trainers, and Coaches. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
[84] Scott, J. (2000). Social Network Analysis: A Handbook. London: Sage.
[85] Shaw, M. E. (1955). A Comparison of Two Types of Leadership in Various Communication Nets. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 50, 127-134.
[86] Shaw, M. E. (1964). Communication Networks. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 1, 111-147.
[87] Shelton, M. M., & Bauer, L. K. (1994). Secrets of Highly Effective Meetings. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
[88] Siegert, W. (2007). Konferenz mit Ziel und Effizienz: Sparen Sie viel Zeit und Geld! Renningen: Expert.
[89] Sisco, R. (1993). What to Teach Team Leaders. Training, 30, 62-67.
[90] Slavin, R. E. (1996). Research on Cooperative Learning and Achievement: What We Know, What We Need to Know. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 21, 43-69.
[91] Sosik, J. M., Kahai, S. S., & Avolio, B. J. (1998). Transformational Leadership and Dimensions of Creativity: Motivating Idea Generation in Computer Mediated Groups. Creativity Research Journal, 11, 111-122.
[92] Sunwolf, & Frey, L. R. (2005). Facilitating Group Communication. In S. Wheelan (Ed.), The Handbook of Group Research and Practice (pp. 485-509). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
[93] Sunwolf, & Seibold, D. R. (1999). The Impact of Formal Problem-Solving Procedures on Group Processes, Members, and Task Outcomes. In L. R. Frey, D. S. Gouran, & M. S. Poole (Eds.), The Handbook of Group Communication Theory and Research (pp. 395-431). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
[94] Taggar, S. (2001). Group Composition, Creative Synergy, and Group Performance. Journal of Creative Behavior, 35, 261-286.
[95] Tobia, P. M., & Becker, M. C. (1990). Making the Most of Meeting Time. Training and Development Journal, 34-38.
[96] Uzzi, B. (1996). The Sources and Consequences of Embeddedness for Economic Performance of Organizations: The Network Effect. American Sociological Review, 61, 674-698.
[97] Van Praet, E. (2009). Staging a Team Performance: A Linguistic Ethnographic Analysis of Weekly Meetings at a British Embassy. Journal of Business Communication, 46, 80-99.
[98] Vivacqua, A. S., Marques, L. C., Ferreira, M. S., & de Souza, J. M. (2008). Information Needs for Meeting Facilitation. In Groupware: Design, Implementation, and Use (pp. 57-64). Springer: Berlin.
[99] Volkema, R. J., & Niederman, F. (1995). Organizational Meetings Formats and Information Requirements. Small Group Research, 26, 3-24.
[100] Wasserman, S., & Faust, K. (1994). Social Network Analysis: Methods and applications. New York: Cambridge University Press.
[101] Wayne, S. J., Shore, L M., Bommer, W. H., & Tetrick, L. E. (2002). The Role of Fair Treatment and Rewards in Perceptions of Organizational Support and Leader Member Exchange. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87, 590-598.
[102] Westphal, J. D., Seidel, M.-D., & Stewart, K. S. (2001). Second-Order Imitation: Uncovering Latent Effects of Board Network Ties. Administrative Science Quarterly, 46, 717-747.
[103] Wheelan, S. A., & Johnston, F. (1996). The Role of Informal Member Leaders in a System Containing Formal Leaders. Small Group Research, 27, 33-55.
[104] Yrle, A. C., Hartman, S., & Galle, W. P. (2002). An Investigation of Relationships between Communication Style and Leader-Member Exchange. Journal of Communication Management, 6, 257-268.
[105] Yukl, G. (2010). Leadership in Organizations (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
[106] Zaccaro, S. J., Rittman, A. L., & Marks, M. A. (2001). Team Leadership. Leadership Quarterly, 12, 451-483.

Copyright © 2020 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.