retrun to topNew Article Forthcoming in Organization Science

posted on Apr 30 2015

New Article provisionally accepted in Organization Science:

Reconnection choices: Selecting the most valuable (versus most preferred) dormant ties

Jorge Walter*, Daniel Z. Levin**, & J. Keith Murnighan***

* The George Washington University, ** Rutgers University, *** Northwestern University

Recent research has shown that reconnecting long-lost, dormant ties can yield tremendous value, often more than active ties. Yet two key research questions remain unanswered: which of a person’s many dormant ties provide the most value, and which are advice seekers most inclined to choose as reconnection targets? In the current study, we asked executives to seek advice on an important work project from two dormant ties (their first, most preferred choice plus one selected randomly from their next nine most preferred choices) and to respond to surveys before and after their reconnections. This two-stage design allowed us to make causal inferences about the executives’ advice-seeking preferences and the value of reconnecting certain types of dormant ties. Our results show that the most valuable reconnections are to people who provide novelty (by not having spent much time together in the past and being higher status) as well as engagement (by being trustworthy and willing to help). Our executive participants, however, preferred neither novelty nor engagement. Rather, the prospect of reconnecting can make people feel anxious. To avoid this discomfort, executives preferred contacts with whom they had spent a lot of time together in the past, thereby actually reducing novelty. Thus, our findings identify critical biases in executives’ reconnection preferences as well as insights into how to make more effective reconnections. Our discussion presents broader implications of these findings for advice seeking and social networks.

Keywords: Knowledge transfer, interpersonal ties, social exchange

For a copy of this article, please contact me directly.

retrun to topResearch Talk at Tilburg University

posted on Apr 17 2015

This week, I also visited Tilburg University to present our paper "Prior experience, bargaining power, and exclusivity in technology licensing agreements" (co-authored with Ted Khoury & Erin Pleggenkuhle-Miles).


My gratitude to Nufer Ates for kindly hosting me during my visit and to all faculty members and doctoral students for their insightful feedback on our study!

retrun to topResearch Talk at Erasmus University Rotterdam

posted on Apr 16 2015

Just came back from a visit to Rotterdam, where I presented our new working paper on "Antecedents and outcomes of peer control: A multi-level analysis" (co-authored with Markus & Karin Kreutzer) at the Rotterdam School of Management at Erasmus University.


Thanks to my host, Murat Tarakci, for making this happen and to all the brown bag participants for their great feedback on our study!