Networking Behaviors under the Microscope (dissertation)


In this dissertation, I examine between-people variations in their engagement in networking behaviors. In particular, I investigate the emotions, cognition, motivations and network properties associated with those networking behaviors. In chapter one, I challenge the theoretical premises and empirical evidence provided by Casciaro, Gino, and Kouchaki (2014) on the feelings of dirtiness people experience when networking. I then offer a different perspective on the discomfort people feel when networking. Based on the literature on moral emotions, I argue and show that people experience guilt when networking partly because they construe networking as the objectification of others. I also investigate prosocial motives as a potential moderator of the effect, but do not find supporting evidence for this effect. In chapter two, I examine why women seem to benefit less than men from their networking activities. Based on the literature on gender stereotypes, I argue that certain networking strategies carry a risk to women’s image, because of a stereotype painting them as able and willing to use their power of attraction to manipulate men. As such, women could be less likely to engage in actions aimed at deepening and strengthening relationships with their male supervisors for fear that it will reflect negatively on their image. I find that while women do associate more image risk with network-deepening actions when the target is a supervisor of the opposite (rather than same) gender, they are not less likely than men to engage in those actions. I also find that men are less likely than women to engage in network-deepening actions with a colleague of the opposite (rather than same) gender because of the image risk they associate with those actions. Finally, I find women’s concerns for their image to be unwarranted: Third parties do not judge women more harshly than men when engaged in networking-deepening actions with supervisors of the opposite gender. In chapter three, I propose that different motivations (i.e., for power, affiliation, and achievement) could be associated with different networking behaviors (i.e., search, maintenance, and leverage). In turn, I explore how each of those networking behaviors relate to different network properties (i.e., size, diversity, and density). Using data collected from a cohort of EMBA students, I show that motivation for power is positively related to search, and motivation for affiliation is positively related to both search and maintenance, but do not find significant association between motivation for achievement and networking behaviors. In turn, I find that greater engagement in both search and maintenance is associated with larger networks, and greater engagement in maintenance is associated with sparser networks, but do not find significant associations between any type of networking behaviors and network diversity.

Zoé Ziani
Zoé Ziani

PhD in Organizational Behavior