Developing boundary-spanning relationships : learning through success stories
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SubjectSocial networks; Business networks; System analysis; System theory; Grounded theory (Research methodology); Qualitative research (Research methodology); Interviews (Research methodology)
This research addresses the following questions: how do successful professionals cultivate boundary-spanning relationships to develop professional goods; and what lessons can be drawn from their successes? This study uses grounded theory to interpret qualitative interview data from four expert networkers to help demonstrate how successful people in various industries build relationships — and what characteristics these successful networkers have in common. Using grounded theory, five key themes emerged: uncertainty reduction, ingratiation, reciprocity, mentoring relationships and the importance of follow-up. The study of networks has a well-developed body of surrounding literature; however, the current research does little to address how individual actors successfully build the relationships upon which networks are based. Therefore, this qualitative research into the characteristics shared by successful networkers is a positive contribution to the body of knowledge concerning social network theory — and will serve as a guide for those wishing to expand their personal and business networks.
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