Teamwork in the Time of COVID-19: Creating, Dissolving, and Reactivating Network Ties in Response to a Crisis

Y. Jasmine Wu*, Brennan Antone, Arshya Srinivas, Leslie DeChurch, Noshir Contractor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has prompted an unprecedented shift to remote work. Workers across the globe have used digital technologies to connect with teammates and others in theirorganizations. In what ways did the COVID-19 crisis alter the frequency and balance of internal and externalteam interactions? During a crisis, networking offers a type of goal-directed behavior through whichindividuals source and provide information. We can understand how people use their network through thelens of network churn, changes in embeddedness brought on by the creation, dissolution, and/or reactivationof network ties. higher We posit that performing individuals exhibit distinct networking strategies ascompared to lower performing employees during the pandemic. We present a field study conducted in amultinational industrial manufacturing company in China investigating network churn during the COVID-19 pandemic. Findings show that, during a crisis, job performance is positively related to the volume ofinter-team tie creation and inter-team tie reactivation, but not intra-team tie creation and intra-team tiereactivation. Job performance is not related to the volume of intra and inter-team tie dissolution. The studyprovides early, yet important insights into the interplay between crisis and organizational social networks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1483-1492
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2021


  • Dormant ties
  • Network churn
  • Performance
  • Team boundaries
  • Uncertainty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


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