Personal goal pursuit as an antecedent to social network structure
Three studies using diverse methods examine the effects of goals on instrumental mindsets and social network activation. We hypothesize that individual advancement and interpersonal affiliation goals evoke distinct patterns of interpersonal perception and motivation, which lead to the activation of sparser and denser social networks, respectively. Study 1, an experiment, found that triggering individual advancement goals (vs. affiliation goals) within a workplace domain led to the activation of sparser networks. Study 2, an experiment, found evidence of an indirect pathway, through which individual advancement goals increased the tendency to view social network contacts in an instrumental fashion, which in turn predicted the activation of sparser networks. Study 3, a longitudinal field study, found that individuals entering a new social network with strong career goals (individual-advancement goals) reported sparser networks and more central network positions; some evidence suggested that these effects may extend beyond activated networks to mobilized networks.
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