Understanding Networking and its Benefits

teamwork-1-1254520-m[We are pleased to welcome Špela Trefalt to Management Ink. Dr. Trefalt’s article “How Network Properties Affect One’s Ability to Obtain Benefits: A Network Simulation” recently appeared in the OnlineFirst section of the Journal of Management Education.]

About four years ago, I started teaching about networks in Executive Education Programs at Simmons School of Management. I wanted to help the participants understand and appreciate the importance of structural properties of networks (centrality, structural holes, multiplexity, strength of ties) and social capital, and I couldn’t find a good way to do that. Lecturing to a group of highly-competent professionals was not my style and I couldn’t find an exercise that would convey these points. So I developed one. Since they, I’ve tried it out with multiple groups of executives and MBA students as well as with undergraduates, and it always worked very well. Students enjoyed it but also learned from it. This is a very low-tech exercise, so get ready for some printing and filling up some envelopes but I promise the investment is worthwhile.

The abstract:

JME_72ppiRGB_powerpointNetworks and the social capital that they carry enable people to get things done, to prosper in their careers, and to feel supported. To develop an effective network, one needs to know more than how to make connections with strangers at a reception; understanding the consequences of network properties on one’s ability to obtain benefits is essential. Such understanding enables students to better assess who to connect to. The simulation described herein enables participants to experience and therefore better understand the consequences of their position within a network and to overcome potential aversion to networking by recognizing its benefits and potential for reciprocity. It has been used effectively with undergraduates, MBA students, and executive audiences.
spela-trefalt_rdax_200x278Dr. Špela Trefalt joined Simmons faculty in 2008, after earning her D.B.A. in Management from the Harvard Business School, her M.B.A. from the University of Kansas, and her B.A. in Law from the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia. In her research, Dr. Trefalt focuses on the issues of managing the competing demands of work and life outside of work, especially among professionals. She is particularly interested in the role of relationships at work in this process. Her research aims at deepening our understanding of the experiences of individuals with work and non-work demands in order to provide ideas for improving individuals’ well-being by combining their own agency and organizational change. She teaches in the MBA and in Executive Education programs. Prior to her academic career, Trefalt spent six years as a human resources management consultant, and eight years working in the media in Slovenia.
This entry was posted in Careers, Communication, Compensation and Benefits, Education, Jobs, Marketing, Organizational Behavior, Promotion, Relationships, Rewards, Simulation & Gaming, Social Marketing, Social Media, Teaching & Learning and tagged , , , by Cynthia Nalevanko, Editor, SAGE Publishing. Bookmark the permalink.

About Cynthia Nalevanko, Editor, SAGE Publishing

Founded in 1965, SAGE is the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. Known for our commitment to quality and innovation, SAGE has helped inform and educate a global community of scholars, practitioners, researchers, and students across a broad range of subject areas. With over 1500 employees globally from principal offices in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, Washington DC, and Melburne, our publishing program includes more than 1000 journals and over 900 books, reference works and databases a year in business, humanities, social sciences, science, technology and medicine. Believing passionately that engaged scholarship lies at the heart of any healthy society and that education is intrinsically valuable, SAGE aims to be the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. This means playing a creative role in society by disseminating teaching and research on a global scale, the cornerstones of which are good, long-term relationships, a focus on our markets, and an ability to combine quality and innovation. Leading authors, editors and societies should feel that SAGE is their natural home: we believe in meeting the range of their needs, and in publishing the best of their work. We are a growing company, and our financial success comes from thinking creatively about our markets and actively responding to the needs of our customers.

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