Raj, M., Fast, N.J., and Fisher, O. (2017). Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 43, 772-784.
Despite evidence that large professional networks afford a host of financial and professional benefits, people vary in how motivated they are to build such networks. To help explain this variance, the present article moves beyond a rational self-interest account to examine the possibility that identity shapes individuals’ intentions to network. Study 1 established a positive association between viewing professional networking as identity-congruent and the tendency to prioritize strengthening and expanding one’s professional network. Study 2 revealed that manipulating the salience of the self affects networking intentions, but only among those high in networking identity-congruence. Study 3 further established causality by experimentally manipulating identity-congruence to increase networking intentions. Study 4 examined whether identity or self-interest is a better predictor of networking intentions, providing support for the former. These findings indicate that identity influences the networks people develop. Implications for research on the self, identity-based motivation, and professional networking are discussed.Read More