Relational changes during role transitions

A promotion to management positions is a significant advancement in professionals’ career. But it also brings a significant challenge as they are given more responsibilities and their roles expand from being a functional specialist. In order to successfully adapt to their new and enlarged roles, professionals need to renew their networks by keeping, losing, and adding network contacts.

In this paper, we ask how do professionals change their networks after their promotion? Based on two‐waves of social network survey, we find that professionals consider both pull of cohesion (i.e., sticking with old and close contacts) and push of efficiency (i.e., economizing and replacing unnecessary contacts) while networking. More specifically, newly promoted professionals keep powerful, competent, and trusted contacts with whom they share multiple types of social relationships. At the same time, they lose redundant contacts, especially when they have alternative contacts who are competent. Finally, we find that professionals who used to have network that connects otherwise unconnected people add new contacts with greater competence.

Jonczyk, C., Lee, Y.G., Galunic, C., & Bensaou, B. (2016) “Relational changes during role transitions: The interplay of efficiency and cohesion”, Academy of Management Journal, 59(3):956-982

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