“The Motivational Science of Professional Networking” by Dr. Xi Zou
Dr. Xi Zou
Nanyang Business School
Nanyang Technological University
Professional networking is important. From “Never Eat Alone” to “Leaders Eat Last”, the value of networking is sung by management scholars and business gurus alike. However, only recently has research on networks begun to recognize the fact that many people experience significant motivational barriers when engaging in professional networking. In this talk, I present my recent work that seeks to further the scientific understanding of these motivational barriers by investigating how professionals feel and think about networking. In Studies 1 – 3, I examined how professionals feel about the potential rejection inherent in professional networking. Professionals with a higher level of rejection sensitivity developed a smaller number of higher rank contacts over time and reported greater networking avoidance. In Studies 4 – 6, I examined how professionals think about their networking ability. Professionals differed in their beliefs about whether networking ability is fixed or malleable, and those with more fixed beliefs were less engaged in networking. By identifying the motivational barriers that inhibit networking behavior, the present research sheds new light on the motivational psychology of networking.