1 Department of Management, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University2 Rutgers Business School, Newark, NJ3 Grenoble Ecole de Management4 Department of Management, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University
Scholars have long been aware of the advantages to performance when colleagues share work information. We know less about the implications of multiplex ties such as when the sharing of work information is combined with that of nonwork information. We contrast social embeddedness theory with that of a market theory of information exchange, to explain how ties that include both work-focused and non-work-related discussion might produce different consequences from ties that include only work information. In our study of 154 people in an international bank, we show that there are two paths to better performance. First, there is a positive linear association between employees with many work-only ties and higher performance. Second, there is a curvilinear relationship between multiplex work-friendship ties and performance. Having some multiplex ties is a good thing, but having too many ultimately has a negative effect on performance. In addition, we find that the path to higher performance differs by the amount of time people have been in an organization. Those with low tenure outperformed colleagues with a moderate number of multiplex ties. Whereas, for their high tenure colleagues, multiplex ties had little effect.