Social networks and the cognitive motivation to realise network opportunities: a study of managers' information gathering behaviors
Anderson, M. (2007). Social networks and the cognitive motivation to realise network opportunities: a study of managers' information gathering behaviours. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 29(1), 51-78.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/1954
Information gathering is central to a variety of organizational behavior theories, but researchers have suggested that our understanding of the actual information gathering behaviors of managers is underdeveloped. Social network characteristics are theorized to be a key determinant of information gathering behaviors, but social network research has been criticized for: (1) not measuring the intervening mechanisms by which network characteristics are theorized to have their effects and (2) not considering how actors' motivation affects what network benefits are realized. This article addresses these concerns through an empirical study of the actual information gathering behaviors of managers. It posits that individual differences in a personality variable called need for cognition capture differences in actors' cognitive motivation to realize the potential information benefits that exist in their social networks. Results show that network characteristics do affect information benefits, but these effects are stronger for managers motivated to take advantage of them. These findings both support social capital theory and suggest the important role that personality can play in augmenting social network analyses. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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