Qinglian Lu is a PhD candidate in sociology at Stanford University. Her research interests include social networks and organizations, economic sociology, computational methods and statistical modeling. Her current project analyzes the network structure of a large Chinese bureaucracy.
This project explores social networks and career mobility inside organizations and labor markets. Using a unique dataset of job records inside a large Chinese bureaucracy, I would like to explore the factors that can explain mobility patterns inside organizational hierarchies. Previous theories on this research topic can be broadly divided into two competing arguments. The first set of arguments conceptualize promotion inside organizations as a competitive selection process based on job performance and achievement, following the tournament model in personnel economics. The performance-based model, however, omits important factors that could influence both performance and job mobility, such as network connections. The competing hypotheses point out the effect of networks and personal relations in career mobility, and suggest that networks have an important impact on career transitions and may influence job performance as well. The network-related arguments, however, lacks a differentiation among the effects of different network connections in various organizational settings, as well as a more substantive understanding of the relationship between networks and job performance. The current project seeks to adjudicate the competing theories by analyzing a unique dataset, which contains valuable information on networks among officials in a large Chinese bureaucracy. Using multiple approaches in analysis, I attempt to address the existing issues in previous research and bridge the gap in the current literature.