Professional networking: Exploring differences between offline and online networking

Abstract

Professional networking has mostly been researched in offline contexts. With professional social networking sites (SNS), such as LinkedIn or the German platform XING, professional networking can be extended to online contexts. Therefore, this study examines if people differ in the intensity of offline and online networking and if influence factors differentially predict offline and online networking. An exploratory online survey of working people (N = 326, Mage = 37 years, 56% women) revealed that mean values among the four different networking types did not differ significantly. However, people can be divided into four clusters of networkers (the minimal, the heavy, the mainly offline, and the mainly online networkers). When looking at influence factors, there is a positive association of people’s knowing about the benefits of networking and their networking intensity for all types of networking offline and online. Beyond that, the negative affective influence of anxiety towards unknown people on networking shows an interaction effect with networking type as it is stronger for offline networking than it is for online networking. The results indicate that professional social networking sites might help people with their networking pursuits by reducing negative emotions associated with networking, thereby contributing to a social compensation effect.

Bibliographic citation

Baumann, L., & Utz, S. (2021). Professional networking: Exploring differences between offline and online networking. Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 15(1), Article 2. doi:https://doi.org/10.5817/CP2021-1-2

Keywords

Professional networking; professional online networking; professional social networking sites; social compensation hypothesis; offline and online comparison

Full Text:

HTML

References

Show references Hide references

Aiken, L. S., & West, S. G. (1991). Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions. Sage Publications.

Amichai-Hamburger, Y., & Vinitzky, G. (2010). Social network use and personality. Computers in Human Behavior, 26(6), 1289–1295. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2010.03.018

Back, M. D., Stopfer, J. M., Vazire, S., Gaddis, S., Schmukle, S. C., Egloff, B., & Gosling, S. D. (2010). Facebook profiles reflect actual personality, not self-idealization. Psychological Science, 21(3), 372–374. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797609360756

Baruffaldi, S. H., Di Maio, G., & Landoni, P. (2017). Determinants of PhD holders’ use of social networking sites: An analysis based on LinkedIn. Research Policy, 46(4), 740–750. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.respol.2017.01.014

Bendella, H., & Wolff, H.-G. (2020). Who networks? A meta-analysis of the relationship between networking and personality. Career Development International, 25(5), 461–479. https://doi.org/10.1108/CDI-12-2019-0289

Blank, G., & Lutz, C. (2017). Representativeness of social media in Great Britain: Investigating Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Instagram. American Behavioral Scientist, 61(7), 741–756. https://doi.org/10.1177/0002764217717559

Blickle, G., John, J., Ferris, G. R., Momm, T., Liu, Y., Haag, R., Meyer, G., Weber, K., & Oerder, K. (2012). Fit of political skill to the work context: A two-study investigation. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 61(2), 295–322. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1464-0597.2011.00469.x

Bolino, M. C., & Turnley, W. H. (1999). Measuring impression management in organizations: A scale development based on the Jones and Pittman taxonomy. Organizational Research Methods, 2(2), 187–206. https://doi.org/10.1177/109442819922005

Bozionelos, N. (2008). Intra-organizational network resources: How they relate to career success and organizational commitment. Personnel Review, 37(3), 249–263. https://doi.org/10.1108/00483480810862251

Brandenberg, G., Ozimek, P., Bierhoff, H.-W., & Janker, C. (2019). The relation between use intensity of private and professional SNS, social comparison, self-esteem, and depressive tendencies in the light of self-regulation. Behavior & Information Technology, 38(6), 578–591. https://doi.org/10.1080/0144929X.2018.1545049

Brivio, E., & Ibarra, F. C. (2009). Self-presentation in blogs and social networks. In B. K. Wiederhold & G. Riva (Eds.), Technology and informatics: Annual Review of Cybertherapy and Telemedicine 2009 (Vol. 144, pp. 113–115). IOS Press.

Brown, R. P., Budzek, K., & Tamborski, M. (2009). On the meaning and measure of narcissism. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 35(7), 951–964. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167209335461

Buettner, R. (2016). Personality as a predictor of business social media usage: An empirical investigation of XING usage patterns. In Proceedings of the 20th Pacific Asia Conference on Information Systems (PACIS 2016). AIS. https://aisel.aisnet.org/pacis2016/163

Buffardi, L. E., & Campbell, W. K. (2008). Narcissism and social networking websites. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34(10), 1303–1314. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167208320061

Byham, W. C. (2009). Start networking right away (even if you hate it). Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2009/01/start-networking-right-away-even-if-you-hate-it

Campbell, W. K., Bonacci, A. M., Shelton, J., Exline, J. J., & Bushman, B. J. (2004) Psychological entitlement: Interpersonal consequences and validation of a self-report measure. Journal of Personality Assessment, 83(1), 29–45. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327752jpa8301_04

Carmack, H. J., & Heiss, S. N. (2018). Using the theory of planned behavior to predict college students’ intent to use LinkedIn for job searches and professional networking. Communication Studies, 69(2), 145–160. https://doi.org/10.1080/10510974.2018.1424003

Casciaro, T., Gino, F., & Kouchaki, M. (2014). The contaminating effect of building instrumental ties: How networking can make us feel dirty. Administrative Science Quarterly, 59(4), 705–735. https://doi.org/10.1177/0001839214554990

Casciaro, T., Gino, F., & Kouchaki, M. (2016). Learn to love networking. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2016/05/learn-to-love-networking

Cross, R., & Thomas, R. J. (2011). Managing yourself: A smarter way to network. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2011/07/managing-yourself-a-smarter-way-to-network

Davis, J., Wolff, H.-G., Forret, M. L., & Sullivan, S. E. (2020). Networking via LinkedIn: An examination of usage and career benefits. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 118, Article 103396. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2020.103396

De Janasz, S. C., & Forret, M. L. (2008). Learning the art of networking: A critical skill for enhancing social capital and career success. Journal of Management Education, 32(5), 629–650. https://doi.org/10.1177/1052562907307637

De Vos, A., & Soens, N. (2008). Protean attitude and career success: The mediating role of self-management. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 73(3), 449–456. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2008.08.007

Eckenhofer, E. M., & Ershova, M. (2011) Organizational culture as the driver of dense intra-organizational networks. Journal of Competitiveness, 3(2), 28–42. https://www.cjournal.cz/index.php?hid=clanek&bid=archiv&cid=56&cp=

Ellison, N. B., & Boyd, D. M. (2013). Sociality through social network sites. In W. H. Dutton (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of Internet studies (pp. 151–172). Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199589074.013.0008

Forret, M. L., & Dougherty, T. W. (2001). Correlates of networking behavior for managerial and professional employees. Group & Organization Management, 26(3), 283–311. https://doi.org/10.1177/1059601101263004

Forret, M. L., & Dougherty, T. W. (2004). Networking behaviors and career outcomes: Differences for men and women? Journal of Organizational Behavior, 25(3), 419–437. https://doi.org/10.1002/job.253

Gangadharbatla, H. (2008). Facebook me: Collective self-esteem, need to belong, and Internet self-efficacy as predictors of the iGeneration’s attitudes toward social networking sites. Journal of Interactive Advertising, 8(2), 5–15. https://doi.org/10.1080/15252019.2008.10722138

Gentile, B., Twenge, J. M., Freeman, E. C., & Campbell, W. K. (2012). The effect of social networking websites on positive self-views: An experimental investigation. Computers in Human Behavior, 28(5), 1929–1933. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2012.05.012

Gerard, J. G. (2012). Linking in with LinkedIn®: Three exercises that enhance professional social networking and career building. Journal of Management Education, 36(6), 866–897. https://doi.org/10.1177/1052562911413464

Gosling, S. D., Augustine, A. A. Vazire, S. Holtzman, N., & Gaddis, S. (2011). Manifestations of personality in online social networks: Self-reported Facebook-related behaviors and observable profile information. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 14(9), 483–488. https://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2010.0087

Gosling, S. D., Gaddis, S., & Vazire, S. (2007). Personality impressions based on Facebook profiles. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Web and Social Media (ICWSM’2007). AAAI Press. https://www.icwsm.org/papers/paper30.html

Hall, D. T. (1976). Careers in organizations. Goodyear.

Hall, D.T. (2001). Careers in and out of organizations. Sage Publications.

Herrmann, A., Hirschi, A., & Baruch, Y. (2015). The protean career orientation as predictor of career outcomes: Evaluation of incremental validity and mediation effects. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 88, 205–214. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2015.03.008

Hippler, G., & Krüger, K. (2014). Leistungsorientierung von Angestellten [Employee performance orientation]. Zusammenstellung sozialwissenschaftlicher Items und Skalen (ZIS) [Open Access Repository for Measurement Instruments]. https://doi.org/10.6102/zis11

Hube, G. (2005). Beitrag zur Beschreibung und Analyse von Wissensarbeit. [Contribution to the description and analysis of knowledge work; Dissertation]. https://elib.uni-stuttgart.de/bitstream/11682/4067/1/Diss_Hube_Wissensarbeit.pdf

Kalpidou, M., Costin, D., & Morris, J. (2011). The relationship between Facebook and the well-being of undergraduate college students. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 14(4), 183–189. https://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2010.0061

Kim, S. (2013). Networking enablers, constraints and dynamics: A qualitative analysis. Career Development International, 18(2), 120–138. https://doi.org/10.1108/CDI-04-2012-0051

Kim, W., & Malek, K. (2017). Social networking sites versus professional networking sites: Perceptions of hospitality students. Journal of Human Resources in Hospitality & Tourism, 17(2), 200–221. https://doi.org/10.1080/15332845.2017.1340763

Kluemper, D. H., & Rosen, P. A. (2009). Future employment selection methods: Evaluating social networking websites. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 24(6), 567–580. https://doi.org/10.1108/02683940910974134

Kluemper, D. H., Rosen, P. A., & Mossholder, K. W. (2012). Social networking websites, personality ratings, and the organizational context: More than meets the eye? Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 42(5), 1143–1172. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1559-1816.2011.00881.x

Krasnova, H., Hildebrand, T., Guenther, O., Kovrigin, A., & Nowobilska, A. (2008). Why participate in an online social network? An empirical analysis. In Proceedings of the 16th European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS 2008). AIS. https://aisel.aisnet.org/ecis2008/33/

Kraut, R., Kiesler, S., Boneva, B., Cummings, J., Helgeson, V., & Crawford, A. (2002). Internet paradox revisited. Journal of Social Issues, 58(1), 49–74. https://doi.org/10.1111/1540-4560.00248

Lambert, T. A., Eby, L. T., & Reeves, M. P. (2006). Predictors of networking intensity and network quality among white-collar job seekers. Journal of Career Development, 32(4), 351–365. https://doi.org/10.1177/0894845305282767

Manago, A. M., Graham, M. B., Greenfield, P. M., & Salimkhan, G. (2008). Self-presentation and gender on MySpace. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 29(6), 446–458. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appdev.2008.07.001

Mattick, R. P., & Clarke, J. C. (1998). Development and validation of measures of social phobia scrutiny fear and social interaction anxiety. Behavior Research and Therapy, 36(4), 455–470. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0005-7967(97)10031-6

McKenna, K. Y. A., & Bargh, J. A. (1999). Causes and consequences of social interaction on the Internet: A conceptual framework. Media Psychology, 1(3), 249–269. https://doi.org/10.1207/s1532785xmep0103_4

Mehdizadeh, S. (2010). Self-presentation 2.0: Narcissism and self-esteem on Facebook. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 13(4), 357–364. http://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2009.0257

Michael, J., & Yukl, G. (1993). Managerial level and subunit function as determinants of networking behavior in organizations. Group & Organization Management, 18(3), 328–351. https://doi.org/10.1177/1059601193183005

Misner, I., & Hilliard, B. (2017). Networking like a pro: Turning contacts into connections. Entrepreneur Press.

Muscanell, N. L., & Guadagno, R. E. (2012). Make new friends or keep the old: Gender and personality differences in social networking use. Computers in Human Behavior, 28(1), 107–112. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2011.08.016

Ng, T. W. H., & Feldman, D. C. (2014). A conservation of resources perspective on career hurdles and salary attainment. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 85(1), 156–168. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2014.05.008

Nikitkov, A., & Sainty, B. (2014). The role of social media in influencing career success. International Journal of Accounting & Information Management, 22(4), 273–294. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJAIM-02-2014-0009

Papacharissi, Z. (2009). The virtual geographies of social networks: A comparative analysis of Facebook, LinkedIn and ASmallWorld. New Media & Society, 11(1–2), 199–220. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444808099577

Peter, J., Valkenburg, P. M., & Schouten, A. P. (2005). Developing a model of adolescent friendship formation on the Internet. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 8(5), 423–430. https://doi.org/10.1089/cpb.2005.8.423

Pöhlmann, K., & Brunstein, J. C. (1997). GOALS: Ein Fragebogen zur Messung von Lebenszielen [GOALS: A questionnaire for assessing life goals]. Diagnostica, 43(1), 63–79.

Porter, C. M., & Woo, S. E. (2015). Untangling the networking phenomenon: A dynamic psychological perspective on how and why people network. Journal of Management, 41(5), 1477–1500. https://doi.org/10.1177/0149206315582247

Randel, A. E., & Ranft, A. L. (2007). Motivations to maintain social ties with coworkers: The moderating role of turnover intentions on information exchange. Group & Organization Management, 32(2), 208–232. https://doi.org/10.1177/1059601106286778

Rice, L., & Markey, P. M. (2009). The role of extraversion and neuroticism in influencing anxiety following computer-mediated interactions. Personality and Individual Differences, 46(1), 35–39. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2008.08.022

Rosenberg, J., & Egbert, N. (2011). Online impression management: Personality traits and concerns for secondary goals as predictors of self-presentation tactics on Facebook. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 17(1), 1–18. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1083-6101.2011.01560.x

Ross, C., Orr, E. S., Sisic, M., Arseneault, J. M., Simmering, M. G., & Orr, R. R. (2009). Personality and motivations associated with Facebook use. Computers in Human Behavior, 25(2), 578–586. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2008.12.024

Ryan, T., & Xenos, S. (2011). Who uses Facebook? An investigation into the relationship between the Big Five, shyness, narcissism, loneliness, and Facebook usage. Computers in Human Behavior, 27(5), 1658–1664. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2011.02.004

Schonlau, M. (2002). The clustergram: A graph for visualizing hierarchical and nonhierarchical cluster analyses. The Stata Journal, 2(4), 391–402. https://doi.org/10.1177/1536867X0200200405

Shaw, A. M., Timpano, K. R., Tran, T. B., & Joormann, J. (2015). Correlates of Facebook usage patterns: The relationship between passive Facebook use, social anxiety symptoms, and brooding. Computers in Human Behavior, 48, 575–580. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2015.02.003

Sievers, K., Wodzicki, K., Aberle, I., Keckeisen, M., & Cress, U. (2015). Self-presentation in professional networks: More than just window dressing. Computers in Human Behavior, 50, 25–30. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2015.03.046

Spurk, D., Hirschi, A., & Dries, N. (2019). Antecedents and outcomes of objective versus subjective career success: Competing perspectives and future directions. Journal of Management, 45(1), 35–69. https://doi.org/10.1177/0149206318786563

Thompson, J. A. (2005). Proactive personality and job performance: A social capital perspective. Journal of Applied Psychology, 90(5), 1011–1017. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.90.5.1011

Utz, S. (2016). Is LinkedIn making you more successful? The informational benefits derived from public social media. New Media & Society, 18(11), 2685–2702. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444815604143

Utz, S., & Breuer, J. (2016). Informational benefits from social media use for professional purposes: Results from a longitudinal study. Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 10(4), Article 3. https://doi.org/10.5817/CP2016-4-3

Utz, S., & Breuer, J. (2019). The relationship between networking, LinkedIn use and retrieving informational benefits. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 22(3), 180–185. https://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2018.0294

Utz, S., Tanis, M., & Vermeulen, I. (2012). It is all about being popular: The effects of need for popularity on social network site use. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 15(1), 37–42. https://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2010.0651

Van Hoye, G., van Hooft, E. A. J., & Lievens, F. (2009). Networking as a job search behaviour: A social network perspective. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 82(3), 661–682. https://doi.org/10.1348/096317908X360675

Vandenberghe, C., & Ok, A. B. (2013). Career commitment, proactive personality, and work outcomes: A cross-lagged study. Career Development International, 18(7), 652–672. https://doi.org/10.1108/CDI-02-2013-0013

Walter, J., Levin, D. Z., & Murnighan, J. K. (2015). Reconnection choices: Selecting the most valuable (vs. most preferred) dormant ties. Organization Science, 26(5), 1447–1465. https://doi.org/10.1287/orsc.2015.0996

Walther, J. B., Van Der Heide, B., Hamel, L. M., & Shulman, H. C. (2009). Self-generated versus other-generated statements and impressions in computer-mediated communication: A test of warranting theory using Facebook. Communication Research, 36(2), 229–253. https://doi.org/10.1177/0093650208330251

Wanberg, C. R., Kanfer, R., & Banas, J. T. (2000). Predictors and outcomes of networking intensity among unemployed job seekers. Journal of Applied Psychology, 85(4), 491–503. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.85.4.491

Waters, L., Briscoe, J. P., Hall, D. T., & Wang, L. (2014). Protean career attitudes during unemployment and reemployment: A longitudinal perspective. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 84(3), 405–419. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2014.03.003

Weidman, A. C., Fernandez, K. C., Levinson, C. A., Augustine, A. A., Larsen, R. J., & Rodebaugh, T. L. (2012). Compensatory Internet use among individuals higher in social anxiety and its implications for well-being. Personality and Individual Differences, 53(3), 191–195. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2012.03.003

Whiting, V. R., & de Janasz, S. C. (2004). Mentoring in the 21st century: Using the Internet to build skills and networks. Journal of Management Education, 28(3), 275–293. https://doi.org/10.1177/1052562903252639

Wilson, K., Fornasier, S., & White, K. M. (2010). Psychological predictors of young adults’ use of social networking sites. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 13(2), 173–177. https://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2009.0094

Wolff, H.-G., & Kim, S. (2012). The relationship between networking behaviors and the Big Five personality dimensions. Career Development International, 17(1), 43–66. https://doi.org/10.1108/13620431211201328

Wolff, H.-G., & Moser, K. (2006). Entwicklung und Validierung einer Networkingskala [Development and validation of a networking scale]. Diagnostica, 52(4), 161–180. https://doi.org/10.1026/0012-1924.52.4.161

Wolff, H.-G., & Moser, K. (2009). Effects of networking on career success: A longitudinal study. Journal of Applied Psychology, 94(1), 196–206. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0013350

Wolff, H.-G., & Moser, K. (2010). Do specific types of networking predict specific mobility outcomes? A two-year prospective study. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 77(2), 238–245. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2010.03.001

Wolff, H.-G., Schneider-Rahm, C. I., & Forret, M. L. (2011). Adaptation of a German Multidimensional Networking Scale into English. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 27(4), 244–250. https://doi.org/10.1027/1015-5759/a000070

Wolff, H.-G., Spurk, D., & Teeuwen, S. (2015). Entwicklung und Validierung einer Networking-Kurzskala. In T. Rigotti, V. C. Haun, and C. Dormann (Eds.), Menschen, Medien, Möglichkeiten. Proceedings of the 2015 Fachgruppentagung Arbeits-, Organisations- und Wirtschaftspsychologie der DGPs in Mainz. Pabst Science Publishers.

Wolff, H.-G., Weikamp, J. G., & Batinic, B. (2018). Implicit motives as determinants of networking behaviors. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, Article 411. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00411

Zywica, J., & Danowski, J. (2008). The faces of Facebookers: Investigating social enhancement and social compensation hypotheses; predicting Facebook and offline popularity from sociability and self-esteem and mapping the meanings of popularity with semantic networks. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 14(1), 1–34. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1083-6101.2008.01429.x

https://doi.org/10.5817/CP2021-1-2