Person-network fit, cognitive style, and brokerage advantage: do people build networks that hinder their performance?



Prior research finds that individuals with an “adaptive” cognitive style perform best when embedded in brokering networks, whereas those with an “innovative” style perform best in closed networks. This research, however, does not examine whether differences in individual cognitive style may also affect which network structures people actually build. To address this theoretical gap, we develop a Person-Network fit theory explaining how inter-individual differences in cognitive style separately affect the formation and performance effects of networks. Our proposed theory suggests a paradoxical hypothesis: people tend to build networks that hamper, rather than enhance, their performance. To test our argument, we use data from a longitudinal field experiment enabling us to disentangle the process of network formation from its performance effects. Our empirical analyses lend support to our hypothesis, showing that although “adaptors” benefit most from brokering networks, while “innovators” benefit most from dense networks, each tends to build the opposite network structure. We discuss how this insight extends current understandings of the relationship between cognitive style and networks, bears practical implications for organizations and individuals aiming to leverage networks for performance, and offers a general theoretical framework for analyzing how inter-individual differences may affect the formation of networks and their performance effects.”


Meeting ID: 990 7326 5279
Password: 770715