retrun to topPaper included in AOM Best Paper Proceedings

posted on Mar 27 2016

A new research project I'm involved in will be included in the Best Paper Proceedings of the Academy of Management Meeting, this time for the 2016 Meeting in Anaheim, CA:

Before they were ties: Predicting the value of brand-new connections

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

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

The vast majority of research on the value of social or professional relationships has focused on ties that already exist. We ask if it is possible to predict in advance—before people ever meet—which brand-new ties will yield more value in the form of useful work-related knowledge. We examine this question using three perspectives: the resource (actor) perspective, the relational (tie) perspective, and the network (structure) perspective. To test our predictions, we asked 150 executives to reach out for work-related advice from someone they had never met, and to complete a survey of their thoughts and judgments of the other person both before and after making a connection. Controlling for the effects of homophily, we find support for all three perspectives after a connection has been made, i.e., once there is already an existing tie. However, before tie formation—our focus in this paper—we find evidence only for the network perspective, in the form of either bonding or bridging. Our results suggest that the lack of reliable information about strangers—especially their likely relational or resource qualities—makes it difficult to predict which ties will turn out to be more valuable, but that an existing network structure remains a reliable predictor of value, even for brand-new ties.

Keywords: Social networks, social capital, new ties, tie formation, knowledge transfer, advice seeking

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

retrun to topHappy Easter!

posted on Mar 25 2016


...from the Walter family!

retrun to topOdyssey of the Mind

posted on Mar 14 2016

Our team scored 3rd place in their division in this year's Odyssey of the Mind tournament!


Congratulations to our team! All your hard work over the last few months really paid off!

retrun to topNominated for Peter B. Vaill Outstanding Doctoral Educator Award

posted on Mar 09 2016

I have just received notice from the GWSB Doctoral Student Association that I have been nominated for this year's Peter B. Vaill Outstanding Doctoral Educator Award!


This represents my fourth nomination in the six years I've been here at GW (including winning this award in 2014). Thanks to our doctoral students for nominating me again!

retrun to topNew Article Published in MIT Sloan Management Review

posted on Mar 03 2016

MIT SMR 2016

Happy to share that our new article on reconnecting dormant ties has just appeared in MIT Sloan Management Review.

While our previous research has found that rekindling dormant professional relationships can offer tremendous career benefits to executives, our new study shows that some reconnections are more beneficial than others — and that executives often don’t select the best reconnection choices.

In particular, reconnecting with long-lost or dormant contacts can be very valuable — both professionally and personally. But choosing from among hundreds of former contacts can be challenging. We find that executives, when left to their own devices, don’t take full advantage of their opportunities to reconnect. And when they do reconnect, they tend to focus on comfort and not on re-connections that might offer the best advice.

To get the most out of reconnecting, however, you have to seek out former contacts who are likely to engage with you and to provide you with novelty. To achieve more novelty, this may mean going outside your usual comfort zone and reaching out to higher-status people or to people you didn’t know very well to begin with. But these are exactly the kinds of reconnections that can best point you in a new direction, tell you something you don’t already know, and help you make the most of dormant connections in your network.

Read the full article here.