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Learning The Art of Networking: A Critical Skill for Enhancing Social Capital and Career Success



In this era of boundaryless careers, with individuals making frequent career moves and needing to get up-to-speed quickly, networking is seen as a critical competency. Developing and maintaining relationships with others for the purpose of mutual benefit can help individuals search for and secure employment opportunities, gain access to needed information or resources— especially on short notice—and obtain guidance, sponsorship, and social support. Such networking skills are crucial for enhancing social capital and career success; however, many individuals feel uncomfortable with, or unskilled in, networking. Given the importance of networking for business students, we discuss the benefits and challenges of networking and then share a set of exercises and experiences that have been effective in increasing students' networking abilities.
Journal of
Management Education
Volume 32 Number 5
October 2008 629-650
© 2008 Organizational
Behavior Teaching Society
hosted at
Learning The Art
of Networking: A Critical
Skill for Enhancing Social
Capital and Career Success
Suzanne C. de Janasz
University of Mary Washington
Monica L. Forret
St. Ambrose University
In this era of boundaryless careers, with individuals making frequent career
moves and needing to get up-to-speed quickly, networking is seen as a criti-
cal competency. Developing and maintaining relationships with others for the
purpose of mutual benefit can help individuals search for and secure employ-
ment opportunities, gain access to needed information or resources—
especially on short notice—and obtain guidance, sponsorship, and social
support. Such networking skills are crucial for enhancing social capital and
career success; however, many individuals feel uncomfortable with, or
unskilled in, networking. Given the importance of networking for business
students, we discuss the benefits and challenges of networking and then share
a set of exercises and experiences that have been effective in increasing
students’ networking abilities.
Keywords: networking; social networks; social capital; career; business
n today’s fast-paced, global, high-tech environment, one’s willingness and
comfort with networking can significantly impact one’s ability to estab-
lish contacts, get interviews for jobs, and identify and cultivate mentors.
Such networking skills are crucial for career and personal success. For
example, prevailing wisdom suggests that 70–80% of all professional jobs
are not obtained through classified advertisements; rather, they are obtained
through effective and consistent networking (Koss-Feder, 1999). Despite this
wisdom, many students lack the knowledge and skills needed to effectively
network. Still others choose not to engage in networking behaviors for a
variety of conscious and unconscious reasons (de Janasz, Dowd, &
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630 Journal of Management Education
Schneider, 2006). Given the increasing importance of networking, and the
need for management educators to help students learn these skills, this arti-
cle offers conceptual and hands-on tools that have effectively facilitated net-
working skill acquisition in undergraduate and graduate students.
Formal educational systems are primarily designed to focus on the devel-
opment of our human capital, that is, the investments we make in ourselves
to build skills and abilities that help us become marketable. Our education,
as well as our prior work experiences, training, knowledge, and abilities
represent critical sources of human capital that determine our value in the
workplace (Becker, 1975; Blau & Ferber, 1987). However, managers and
professionals need to consider their “social capital” as well, especially for
individuals in protean careers who need to be adaptable, self-directed, and
focused on their employability (Hall, 1996; 2002). Baker (2000) describes
social capital as the resources available to an individual as a result of his or
her personal relationships. Networking is a key human capital skill that is
unique in its ability to increase an individual’s social capital. In the next section,
we define networking and show how improving this aspect of human capital
can positively enhance an individual’s social capital.
Networking represents proactive attempts by individuals to develop and
maintain personal and professional relationships with others for the pur-
pose of mutual benefit in their work or career (Forret & Dougherty, 2001).
In light of our boundaryless work environment characterized by frequent
movement within and across organizations (Arthur & Rousseau, 1996; Sullivan,
1999) and the fact that the burden of responsibility for one’s career has
shifted from the organization to the individual (Hall, 1996; 2002), forming
multiple developmental relationships through networking to support one’s
career has taken on greater emphasis (de Janasz, Sullivan, & Whiting, 2003;
Higgins, 2000; Higgins & Kram, 2001). Multiple developmental relationships
build on Kram’s (1985) concept of the relationship constellation, which
proposes that career and psychosocial support can come from a multitude
of people both inside and outside one’s organization.
Such developmental relationships enhance our social capital. That is, our
relationships with others are a resource that can provide new ideas, timely
information, job opportunities, business leads, influence, and social support
(Baker, 2000). Relationships built through networking make it easier to contact
people who can share information about potential opportunities or introduce
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individuals to others who have this information. Whether through face-to-
face, phone, written, or electronic means, individual attempts to “connect”
with others who can provide needed information and opportunities. Effective
networking relationships are built on trust (Baker, 2000) which develops
over time as individuals have positive interactions and support one another.
Developing trusting relationships increases the likelihood individuals will
provide assistance when needed and lessens fears that an individual might
try to exploit the relationship for personal gain (Gouldner, 1960).
Social capital can provide individuals with a substantial advantage in
their careers (Adler & Kwon, 2002). For instance, Seibert, Kraimer, and
Liden (2001) found that the structure and content of an individual’s net-
work provided access to information, resources, and career sponsorship,
which in turn were related to salary, promotions, and career satisfaction.
Moreover, because social capital is more difficult to imitate than human
capital (Forret & Sullivan, 2002), the quality of unique relationships with
individuals in our network represents a valuable and distinctive resource. In
today’s knowledge economy, people and their knowledge are an organiza-
tion’s primary asset and source of competitive advantage (Drucker, 1992).
Because of its focus on building and nurturing personal and professional
relationships to create a system or chain of information, contact, and sup-
port (de Janasz et al., 2006), networking has become critical for individual,
as well as organizational, success.
Building Social Capital
Networking can improve individuals’ social capital by influencing (1) the
size of their social networks, (2) the strength of their relationships in the
social network, (3) their pattern of relationships in their social network, and
(4) the resources of their social network (Forret, 2006).
First, size refers to the number of members in a social network. Through
networking, individuals expand their relationship constellation by forming
relationships with those internal to the organization (e.g., peers) and those
external to it (e.g., members of professional associations; Higgins & Kram,
2001). Forret and Dougherty (2001) identified five types of networking
behaviors to help individuals increase and maintain the size of their networks:
increasing internal visibility (e.g., joining organizational task forces), engaging in
professional activities, participating in social gatherings, becoming involved in
community events, and maintaining contacts with others by sending cards or
e-mail to keep in touch. Larger networks have been associated with a variety of
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benefits. In her research on the socialization of auditors, Morrison (2002)
found that having a larger friendship network was positively related to social
integration, and having a larger information network was associated with
increased organizational knowledge and task mastery. Similarly, Podolny and
Baron (1997) found that the size of one’s strategic information network was
positively related to number of promotions. In sum, building and maintaining
relationships with others results in a larger network that individuals can turn
to for social support, ideas, advice, or sponsorship.
Second, strength of relationships in a social network refers to the
degree of closeness that characterizes a relationship. The strength of a rela-
tionship can be assessed on a continuum based on the frequency of con-
tact, degree of intimacy, and emotional investment (Granovetter, 1973)
with weak ties on one end of the continuum and strong ties on the other.
Both types of relationships (weak ties and strong ties) can be of assistance.
For instance, Granovetter (1974) found that our acquaintances were more
helpful than our close friends for finding jobs because our acquaintances
are a source of more unique information (i.e., our close friends tend to
know about the same job openings). Furthermore, in a study of new prod-
uct development teams, Hansen (1999) showed that weak ties were bene-
ficial for accessing routine information, but strong ties were necessary for
obtaining complex knowledge. Strong relationships may be more impor-
tant for the transfer of sensitive or complex information than weak relation-
ships because of the higher risk and effort involved (Seidel, Polzer, &
Stewart, 2000). Networking relationships are typically considered to be
weak ties (Keele, 1986), and hence, a good source of information about
job opportunities and other assistance. Moreover, networking relationships
may evolve into stronger ties (possibly becoming mentoring relationships)
if contact becomes more frequent and the relationship becomes character-
ized by greater familiarity and comfort.
Third, Burt’s (1992) structural hole theory focuses on the pattern of rela-
tionships in a social network, i.e., whether the members of an individual’s
social network are connected to one another. A structural hole exists when
there is no connection between two members of a social network. One key
advantage of having structural holes is that members of a network who do not
know one another are more likely to provide access to diverse information.
Researchers have found that structural holes are associated with upward
mobility and greater managerial performance (Burt, 1992; Podolny &
Baron, 1997; Rodan & Galunic, 2004). Based on an individual’s career goals,
Forret and Sullivan (2002) advocate aligning networking efforts to build
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relationships with individuals in one’s organization, profession, and commu-
nity. Because individuals in these three domains are less likely to know one
another, they constitute structural holes with the ability to provide distinctive
Fourth, resources of a social network refer to the benefits that may be
derived. In particular, developing relationships with high-status individuals has
the potential to provide valuable outcomes. In their study of job seekers,
Lin, Ensel, and Vaughn (1981) found that the status of the contact had a
strong positive effect on the prestige of the attained job, indicating the ability
of powerful contacts to exert influence on one’s behalf. Networking has been
found to be related to career outcomes of managers such as promotions and
salary progression (Forret & Dougherty, 2004; Gould & Penley, 1984;
Luthans, Hodgetts, & Rosenkrantz, 1988; Michael & Yukl, 1993), as well
as to more immediate benefits such as information and ideas, social support,
job search assistance, and business assistance (e.g., providing business leads,
gaining access to financial resources) (Forret & Dougherty, 1997). Having
multiple developmental relationships has been shown to be associated with
greater work satisfaction, career progress, and retention (Higgins 2000;
Higgins & Thomas, 2001). Overall, the results on networking show the
powerful impact that relationships with others can have on one’s career.
Barriers to Networking
Even though networking is highly beneficial for one’s career, many indi-
viduals seem to find the idea of networking uncomfortable or intimidating
(de Janasz et al., 2006). In particular, the prospect of networking can be rather
scary for some individuals who may consequently refrain from networking
with others. On the other hand, there are other individuals who appear
completely comfortable with walking up to strangers at an event, introducing
themselves, and starting a conversation to find mutual areas of interest. We
liken networking skills to athletic ability or musical talent. Some individuals
have more “natural talent” than others, but these skills and abilities can be
developed through education, practice, and feedback.
Introverted individuals and those with low self-esteem are much less
inclined to engage in networking (de Janasz et al., 2006; Forret & Dougherty,
2001). For instance, Forret and Dougherty (2001) found that those who
were extraverted and had higher self-esteem were more likely to maintain
their external contacts, engage in professional activities, and take steps to
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enhance their visibility in their organizations. Furthermore, research demon-
strates that extraverted individuals are more intense in their networking
efforts (e.g., frequency and thoroughness) than introverted individuals
(Wanberg, Kanfer, & Banas, 2000) and are more comfortable meeting new
people (Digman, 1990; Goldberg, 1993; McCrae & Costa, 1987). Those
with low self-esteem have a lack of confidence in their personal skills and
abilities (Brockner, 1988), may experience difficulty in asking others for
assistance, and believe they will be unable to return any favors received,
thus violating the norm of reciprocity (Gouldner, 1960).
By providing education and training, opportunities to practice, and feed-
back, we believe that individuals can become more comfortable and effective
in their networking behaviors. Skill-building opportunities in how to approach
other people and introduce themselves, as well as opportunities to learn
how to engage in “small talk” to help find areas of common interest can
enhance individuals’ networking abilities. Providing education on the myriad
ways individuals can offer assistance (e.g., encouragement and support,
sharing your knowledge, introducing them to people you know) can help
them become valued partners in the relationship (Barton, 2001).
Educating Students on the Importance
and Skill of Networking
Networking is a specific career competency critical in this era of bound-
aryless careers (Arthur, Inkson, & Pringle, 1999; DeFillippi & Arthur, 1994).
Networking may be taught in interpersonal skills courses or the concepts
discussed in textbook chapters addressing power and influence processes.
In view of the importance of networking for business students, we share a
set of exercises and experiences aimed at increasing students’ awareness of,
comfort with, and skill in networking. We offer the following exercises, which
have been developed and utilized in undergraduate and graduate business
programs to assist students by building awareness of the importance of
networking for their careers and to build skills in developing relationships
with others.
Introduction: Demystifying The Notion of Networking
Many students, particularly traditional-age undergraduates, do not
fully understand the practice or value of networking. They perceive it as
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using or asking special favors from others to gain an unfair advantage.
Some students don’t even realize that they have already practiced net-
working. To demystify and motivate the concept of networking, tell the
students, “Raise your hand if you’ve ever networked.” Typically, fewer
than half of our traditional-age students, and between two thirds and three
quarters of graduate students, will raise their hands. Ask them to keep
their hands raised, while you ask, “When you came here (e.g., new
school, new town), how many of you asked someone for a recommenda-
tion for a hairdresser, restaurant, or mechanic?” and “How many of you
asked roommates or friends for information on the ‘good’ teachers or
classes you should take?”
Our experience suggests that after these questions are asked and answered,
all hands are raised. We acknowledge that these examples constitute network-
ing, and by so doing, we begin to clarify the goals and value of networking,
and build students’ confidence in a skill they unknowingly have actually
practiced. Next, we share a list of benefits of networking with them (see
Appendix 1 for a sample slide), and ask small groups of students to share
personal examples or successes resulting from networking. The stage is set,
and the students are motivated to learn.
Exercise 1: The Handshake Exercise
The handshake is one of the very first ways in which we develop impres-
sions of other individuals (Shipps & Freeman, 2003). It is also an integral
part of face-to-face networking in many cultures. The goal of this exercise
is to reintroduce students to the importance and implications of this simple,
common gesture. To conduct the exercise, ask the students to “greet” and
shake hands with all (or a subset if class is larger than 25 or 30) individuals
in the room. You might suggest that such a process would take place at a
first-time meeting between employees of two or more companies or at a
career fair or convention. Afterwards, discuss students’ responses to the
following sets of questions:
1. “What did you notice about others you met and whose hands you shook?
For example, did they smile, look you in the eyes, give their/ask for your
name?” Discuss students’ perceptions of others’ behaviors, e.g., “How
did you feel when others did or didn’t make eye contact?”
2. “Describe the differences (without identifying individuals) in the hand-
shakes you received. For example, did some involve sweaty palms, bone-
crushing squeezes, or limp grips? If you were meeting these individuals
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for the first time, what might you infer about the individual from his or
her handshake?” Discuss their perceptions/impressions, e.g., fear, confi-
dence or lack thereof, strength, power, need to dominate. Inform the class
that experts consider a firm handshake to be most effective in most
Western cultures; however, many Asian cultures greet with a bow instead
of the “traditional” firm handshake, whereas Native Americans use a
gentler handshake.
3. “What differences, if any, did you notice between men’s and women’s
handshakes? We have found that some men note that they use a gentler
handshake for women than with other men. Explain that firm is ideal, but
too gentle may be misinterpreted by the female receiver. That is, the
intended message (e.g., “I’m being a gentleman and don’t want to hurt
you.”) may be received as “He’s not very confident.
4. “Why is the handshake important?” We explain how it helps form first
impressions, establishes a physical “connection,” and is the accepted
business greeting in North America, Australia, and many European coun-
tries. You might consider discussing handshake etiquette and meaning in
other cultures.
Exercise 2: The Career Fair/"30-Second Commercial"
An important skill for effective networking is the ability to clearly and
succinctly articulate who you are, what you offer, and what you are looking
for. In the earlier example of asking fellow classmates for recommendations
for which classes to take, the asker would find more useful information if
she were specific about her needs, such as a professor who gives easy (or no)
tests or who teaches at night. Similarly, networking for a job opportunity
will be more fruitful if the person looking provides specific information
about his needs, desires, and marketable skills. In this next exercise, we ask
students to imagine they were attending a career fair and noticed a repre-
sentative of a firm at which they would like to work someday. In response
to the recruiter’s greeting (e.g., “Hi, I’m Martha. Tell me about yourself and
your interest in our company . . .”), what should students say? Do they need
to say anything? After all, isn’t handing the recruiter a resume sufficient?
As we explain, recruiters get many similar-looking resumes at career fairs.
A student/prospective employee who takes the time to introduce him- or
herself and entice the recruiter to take a serious look at the resume will fare
better than those who simply hand over a resume and proceed to the next table.
We call this introduction the “30-Second Commercial,” and then explain what
it is, why it is important in networking, and what it should include.
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What it is. It’s a short elevator pitch or sound byte designed to pique the
interest of the recruiter/company representative. It is a thumbnail sketch of
yourself, the skills and experience you offer, and any other special or perti-
nent information related to your interests. It is not a life story! Your goal is
to get the representative to ask additional questions, actually look at (as
opposed to file) your resume, and generally take an interest in learning
more about you.
Why it is important in networking. The market for the most desirable
jobs is competitive. Nearly all the job seekers at a career fair will have a
resume, a suit, a business card, and an interest in securing multiple inter-
views. Although the resume lists courses students have taken and jobs they
have held, it is limited in that the information included is by design fixed
and untargeted to any specific company in which the student is interested.
The commercial is an opportunity for students to quickly and succinctly
highlight particular skills or characteristics likely to interest a recruiter. It
helps the recruiter ask directed follow-up questions, ascertain potential fit,
and, if a positive impression is made, identify that resume as one of the
many deserving a closer look.
What it should include. The pitch should demonstrate how your students
are distinctive from and better “fits” than other candidates. It should include
a brief introduction of the student and what she or he can offer the company,
beyond what appears on a resume. Rather than a string of adjectives, the
best commercials contain two or three important (to the company) skills or
abilities, backed up by illustrative examples (e.g., “When I was in the Peace
Corps, I had to lead others without the benefit of a title. . . . I knew I was
effective in this role because . . .”). We refer to each of these skill/ability
illustrations as mini sound bytes that can be reordered and used earlier or
later in the pitch or expanded in a follow-up meeting or interview.
After writing their commercials, students are instructed to pair up and
deliver the pitch to their partner using a normal rate of speech. The instructor
will time the commercials and subtly inform the students once the commer-
cials reach 20, 30, and 40 seconds.
Listeners, acting as potential employers,
are informed that they will be providing positive and constructive feedback
on the pitch,
including suggestions for prioritizing the content based on the
time used. Time permitting, students may revise and deliver the updated
version—possibly to another student, if desired. Then, the role play is reversed,
and the previous “pitcher” is asked to act as the recruiter while the previous
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recruiter is asked to deliver his or her pitch. The same process of timing,
feedback, and revision is then followed. Students are then asked to note
desired changes based on the “recruiter’s” feedback and to type and revise
their commercials before the next class session. We inform students that
these commercials can and should be modified, depending on the potential con-
tact and opportunity sought, by customizing and reordering the sound bytes
within the commercial. We also note that all or part of these commercials
may be used when using non-face-to-face networking methods.
The exercise and debrief, discussed in groups or the entire class, help
achieve several goals:
1. Helping students, particularly those who are shy or hesitant about net-
working, reduce their fears of networking by practicing in a nonthreaten-
ing environment. Many students comment that doing the pitch “wasn’t as
hard as they thought it would be” and that the second time through “was
much more comfortable than the first time.” We reinforce this idea by
reminding them that practicing the pitch increases their ability to ad lib
from a known starting point, and importantly, enables them to perform it
effectively especially when under the pressure of an interview-like situa-
tion (Friar & Eddleston, 2007).
2. Reinforcing the intended benefits of the commercial by hearing positive
feedback from their partners about their skills and accomplishments
(information that until this point has typically not been shared among
students) and the resulting impression it made. We remind students that
no one knows them and what they offer better than they do. We also
inform them how this process mirrors that of the necessity for companies
to advertise their products and services; the best products and services
will go unpurchased if no one knows they exist.
3. Providing an opportunity for vicarious learning (via partnered learning).
Students gain additional ideas and insights on hearing their first and sub-
sequent partners’ commercials. They also realize that the commercial
tends to sound more informative than arrogant, which is a concern that
several express prior to practicing their commercials.
Questions for debriefing the exercise:
1. How long did it take? Discuss the importance of maintaining a 25- to 30-
second timeframe; neither too short nor too long is beneficial.
2. How did it feel pitching yourself? Why?
3. How did it sound—confident but not arrogant? Explain.
4. How did it feel receiving the pitch? Have the partner explain.
5. Why is it important to have this commercial rehearsed and ready? What
are the benefits and downsides to using this commercial?
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Exercise 3: Networking Simulation—Utilizing
Networking Skills To Make Connections5
In this exercise, students build on their previously practiced skills (a
positive greeting including firm handshake and eye contact, articulating a
30-second commercial) in a simulated event that requires “speed” network-
The setting is an alumni, professional organization, or community event.
For example, “Imagine it is (insert actual date, 10 to 15 years in the future)
and you are attending your school’s alumni event, such as a wine and
cheese mixer or homecoming party. Of course you plan to attend, as you
have fond memories of your school.” Then explain that in addition to being
a proud alumnus, each student will be playing a particular role (see sample
roles in Appendix 2) that specifies who you are as well as what you hope to
accomplish (e.g., find a job, employee, service) at this “meet and greet.” We
tell the students that they should use their skills (e.g., assertive speaking,
listening, empathy, professional etiquette) to find who and what they need,
and note that not every need can be met directly.
Role assignments are handed out, and students are instructed to read
their role and consider ways to approach others about locating resources
that will address their needs. After a few minutes of preparation, students
are given approximately 15 to 20 minutes to network at this fictitious alumni
event. They are encouraged to make a positive impression, even if the
people with whom they connect are of no immediate “use” to them. In addition,
students are instructed to politely ask the “unuseful” participants to direct
them to others whom they may have met who may be able to provide what
is being requested or mention others who might help fill their particular
need. This notion is consistent with the belief that successful networking
requires a positive, cooperative mindset. The most successful networkers
have an attitude derived from viewing relationships as opportunities to give
to, rather than take from, others (Haggerty, 1999). There are two kinds of
networkers: those who are self-oriented, and those who are focused on oth-
ers. In the short-term, both types of networkers may get what they want, but
in the long-term, those who are focused on others are more successful. In
the long-term, those who are approached by the selfish networker might
feel taken advantage of by that individual. A relationship was not formed;
instead, pleasantries were exchanged as a way of getting some need met.
Should this networker contact the person at a later date, there’s a possibility
that the person will be less willing to help.
There are several possible variations for this exercise, depending on
the size of class and mode of interaction (traditional or distance). We’ve
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successfully run this exercise with 20 to 30 students. In a class of 40 or
more, we’d suggest breaking the class into two rooms and running the same
set of 20 roles in each room. One benefit of this variation is that the two
students who play the same role (in a different room) can compare notes as to
strategies which were more or less successful. In a class of fewer than 15
students, the time required to network will be shorter and students can be
encouraged to spend a bit more time getting to know others at the event,
because you never know when a need will arise. For an online class, the role
assignments can be sent by e-mail to individual students, who would then
have a fixed period of time within which to electronically locate what and
who they need by sending targeted e-mails to individual classmates as
opposed to blanket e-mails to the class.
This exercise can then be followed by an overview of an established
public networking program (such as MentorNet—which links women students
in science and technology with those employed in the field) and encour-
agement to join one of several commercially available networking services,
such as LinkedIn (; a free online service that allows you
to list all pertinent information and invite others to link to your network) or
Business Networking International (; an organization with
local chapters that if accepted and a joining fee is paid, helps businesses
connect with other businesses via online or traditional referrals). Instructors
might require students to upload their profile into LinkedIn, because it is
free and rapidly growing in popularity. Finally, for a class of soon-to-be
graduating students, another variation is to rewrite the role cards to be more
realistic in terms of the types of jobs and employees sought, or to provide
time for students to exchange real information in an effort to locate oppor-
tunities and contacts among classmates.
To debrief, the instructor may ask questions about the outcome (e.g., did
you find who/what you were looking for?), process (e.g., what skills helped
you find who you were looking for?), lessons learned (e.g., how important
was being assertive or making eye contact?), and general affect (how did
it feel when you . . . ?). From these feedback sessions, we’ve learned that
students realize that networking isn’t as easy as it looks (i.e., more than just
passing out business cards); and that it requires great concentration and
sincere effort (e.g., remembering names and opportunities to help self and
others). They have fun and gain valuable experience with an exercise that
provides a fairly realistic yet comfortable opportunity to practice their skills
at networking.
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Exercise 4: Networking Quiz
This quiz (included in Appendix 3) has been used with graduate students
and working professionals to help examine (a) how much they are networking
and (b) where they are currently focusing their networking efforts. Based
on their career goals, students can examine whether their networking efforts
are targeted appropriately. For instance, students might realize that they need
to focus on developing relationships outside their organization by meeting
individuals in their professions or communities. The number of checkmarks
tends to vary widely in any given class, and students are often surprised
when they realize the extent of the differences. Consistent with research
findings on networking (Forret & Dougherty, 2001), our experience with
this exercise has been that individuals in sales positions and those at higher
levels in their organizations tend to have more checkmarks than others.
Both types of positions require developing client relationships and rein-
force this behavior through their reward systems.
To debrief this exercise, ask students how many checkmarks they have
(there is a total of 21 checkmarks possible). Ask the students who have the
most checkmarks how they became involved in networking, how their net-
working has benefited them, and how they make the time for networking.
Students are frequently amazed at how much some individuals are net-
working. It can also be enlightening to hear from students who are new-
comers to the area, and how they are going about starting their networking
efforts (e.g., joining local business groups). For those students who have
few checkmarks, ask them what prevents them from engaging in network-
ing. Some students will report being introverted and admit staying away
from activities in which they should probably participate. Many students
will admit that they want to do more networking, but they find it hard to
find the time to do so in light of work and family responsibilities. We do
take this opportunity to emphasize how networking effectively can help
individuals save time by working more efficiently and by providing indi-
viduals with new ideas, information, and resources. In other instances, this
exercise serves as an eye-opener in that MBA students realize they have not
been developing the necessary relationships in their profession or organi-
zation that will help their careers progress (and they may realize that some
of their peers in the organization are networking and are receiving more
opportunities for growth and advancement).
Next, the discussion can revolve around the importance of having
“nonredundant contacts” in their social networks. Members of an individual’s
organization, profession, and community are less likely to know one another;
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thus, individuals who network in these three domains are more likely to
have access to a greater variety of expertise, information about job oppor-
tunities, resources, new ideas, and information. Explore career goals that
students may have. For instance, if an individual is interested in pursuing a
consulting career, it could be very beneficial to develop contacts in one’s
community and profession.
A discussion can then ensue on which groups, organizations, or clubs to join.
Barton (2001) provides a number of ideas to determine if an organization is
right for an individual. First, to gain full benefit of membership, one needs
to actively participate in the group’s activities. If you do not have a strong
interest in the group, that will be difficult to accomplish. Second, as you
evaluate the members of your network, think of whom should be in your
network but isn’t. Does the group you are considering joining include
members you should know? Third, does the group have the potential to help
you developmentally by giving you the opportunity to learn new information
and skills? And fourth, are the dues affordable and the meeting times
convenient? Attending meetings as a guest can be a useful way to help you
make your decision.
Outcomes of The Exercises
The four exercises have been used, separately and collectively, in our
classrooms with great success. Despite what may seem to be simple exer-
cises, we’ve found that nearly all participants derive value from the expe-
rience, whether it’s a first exposure or reminder of things already known.
Participants with significant work experience often testify to the power of
networking, offering up stories that demonstrate what their skills, or lack
thereof, have produced. More inexperienced students are surprised to
learn how critical and commonplace networking really is in general and
how much information is transmitted through a seemingly benign hand-
shake in particular. In groups with diverse backgrounds, such a finding
becomes fodder for a discussion of cultural differences and sensitivity.
Most are able to recall impressions formed from previous handshakes and
find the exercise reinforces what they know about first impressions. The
30-second commercial and role playing exercises do an excellent job of
clarifying just how critical networking is to a person at any career stage.
Comments range from “I used to think it was unfair that people got
special favors through who they knew . . . and now I realize how net-
working is good for not just them but their organizations as well,” to “The
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[commercial] helped me stand out among many candidates . . . later the
recruiter told me that I was the only one who persuasively ‘sold’ myself,
to “what [our professor] is telling us is true. I do recruiting for a living,
and individuals who can tell us what they have to offer and what they
want make our job a whole lot easier. About the networking quiz,
students’ comments include “thought provoking . . . it caused me to face
an area in which I have failed to exert any of my energies,” and “opened
[my] eyes to the power of networking. Developing ties with individuals
from all areas can be very beneficial in various ways.” Some students in
late career stages found the quiz “beneficial but depressing,” because of
their feeling of “beyond being helped in this realm.
Others realized that
career change was not only possible but can be facilitated through net-
working—both for information and employment opportunities.
Truth be told, some students, particularly those with little or no work
experience, pay cursory attention to the exercises and discussion that accom-
panies them. They think their skills or achievements will sell themselves,
and that the perfect employer will knock on their door. It is these students
who e-mail us after the class has ended with “now I understand . . .” real-
izations. Others share candid responses about how their discomfort in and
fear of networking-related activities waned subsequent to participating in
these activities. Using any or all of these activities, instructors can create a
safe environment in which students will experience various aspects of net-
working (e.g., “it’s not as scary as I thought it would be”) and hone their
skills through practice and feedback from peers and their instructor.
Moreover, instructors who teach hybrid or online courses, or who have
students that struggle with the idea of face-to-face networking, can choose to
complement and augment this activity with one that takes place exclusively
online. One such activity, online mentoring (see Whiting & de Janasz, 2004),
requires students to initiate and build a mentor/protégé relationship with a
business professional over the course of a semester using the Internet. In a
recent study involving 228 undergraduate and graduate students who had
participated in this activity, about 60% initiated relationships with mentors
they didn’t know previously, i.e., they used electronic means to meet and
solicit help from a stranger (de Janasz & Godshalk, 2006). The help received
(mentoring) led to increased skill efficacy with the networking aspect of
mentoring, suggesting that non-face-to-face means to expand one’s network
has increasingly become a viable alternative and complement to traditional
methods (de Janasz, 2006; de Janasz & Godshalk, 2006).
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Those who do not learn how to network will fall behind in today’s
competitive and global environment (Riddle, 1998). Luckily, these skills
can be learned and applied in a variety of contexts. For those who are shy,
networking can be achieved through means other than face-to-face, such
as an e-mail or letter (Whiting & de Janasz, 2004). After confidence and
competence increase, these approaches can be combined with more direct,
face-to-face methods, such as meetings and conferences. Networking takes
conscious effort. It is very much like exercising; if you do not continue to
work at it, you will lose what you already gained. Relationships not only
need to be built, but also need to be maintained to be effective.
Networking relationships are built on trust (Baker, 2000) which takes
time to develop. Social capital is created when employees have the
opportunity to participate in “real work” with one another that results in
their cultivating trusting relationships (Cohen & Prusak, 2001). By coop-
erating with other individuals on projects (whether in one’s organization,
profession, or community), individuals can discover similarities in val-
ues and beliefs held by others that help them communicate more effec-
tively. It is through more substantial interactions that trusting
relationships form. For instance, attending meetings of a service organi-
zation can help an individual meet people, but it is through working with
others on service projects that deeper relationships develop as individu-
als learn more about each other’s values, attitudes, competencies, and
aspirations. Collaborative relationships are characterized by knowledge
of each person’s expertise, a willingness to engage in problem solving,
and trust (Cross, Parker, Prusak, & Borgatti, 2001). Informing students
that the most effective networking relationships have this collaborative
quality, so that individuals sincerely desire to help one another succeed,
should help them gain a greater appreciation for the effort involved and
the potential career opportunities that may arise. The experiential exer-
cises and experiences we’ve discussed help students increase their
understanding of the power of networking; more importantly, they pro-
vide a rich learning opportunity to help them discover networking’s
potential and their ability to harness such potential for personal and pro-
fessional success.
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Appendix 1
Sample Slide on Benefits of Networking
de Janasz, Forret / Learning The Art of Networking 645
Networking can help:
Networking can help:
Individuals seeking job or career changes
Increase access to available resources
and information within an organization
Increase effectiveness in researching,
creating new concepts or ideas or starting
new projects
Managers identify potential employees
With locating providers of supplies and
Expand your business
Appendix 2
Sample Roles for Exercise 3: Networking Simulation
Direct, immediate reciprocity:
You are a young but talented contractor. You are looking for a major pro-
ject to launch your new business.
You are a developer who has a major mall project in the works. You need a
variety of people to help you out, including design work, construction, financ-
ing, etc.
Direct, future reciprocity:
You are a hair stylist who is looking to take a vacation to a place you’ve
never been, and would like to obtain comprehensive information on
prices, places, and options.
You are a travel agent who has “been around the block a few times. Your
office badly needs a new paint job to spice up the visit for your worldly
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Indirect, collective reciprocity:
You are a potential candidate for Congress and are looking for financial
support and inside contacts.
You are a secretary for the governor’s brother. You are about to be audited
by the IRS and are in need of professional assistance to get your books in
You are an accountant who is looking to adopt a new accounting-based
computer program that would link with your current office software.
You are a computer specialist who focuses on small businesses that would
like to set up business-oriented computer programs.
Appendix 3
Networking Quiz (Exercise 4)
Do you engage in the following behaviors? Please place a
in the box if you rou-
tinely engage in the listed activity. How often do you…
Networking in Your Organization
Ask to serve on new work projects or committee assignments?
Volunteer for cross-functional task forces?
Attend your organization’s social functions?
Participate in company-sponsored athletic activities?
Ask your direct reports how you can facilitate their development?
Meet your peers in the organization for lunch or coffee?
Send thank-you notes or gifts to those who have helped you?
Networking in Your Profession
Attend meetings or conferences of professional organizations?
Serve on committees for your professional organization?
Collaborate on projects with peers in your profession?
Socialize with peers in your profession?
Accept speaking engagements on your area of expertise?
Write articles on your area of expertise for newspapers, trade publica-
tions, or newsletters?
Send cards, newspaper clippings, or e-mail to keep in touch with
members of your profession?
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Networking in Your Community
Participate in local service groups (e.g., Rotary, Kiwanis)?
Become involved in promoting a personal cause (e.g., increasing literacy,
preventing breast cancer, helping the elderly)?
Become involved in the arts, theater, symphony, or other quality-of-life
events in the community?
Participate in city governance through serving on boards, councils, or
Meet members of your religious organization?
Welcome newcomers into your community?
Meet others in your community who share your interest in a hobby or ath-
letic activity?
How much are you networking? Total number of
= ____.
Where are you focusing your networking efforts? Number of
for organization =
____, profession = ____, community = ____.
Where should you be focusing your networking efforts?
1. We thank one of the reviewers for pointing this out.
2. Ideally, the commercial is 30 ± 5 seconds. By letting students know that I’ll be calling
out the time at the intervals noted, students become aware of what they’ve covered by when as
well as whether their commercial is too long or too short. This information, along with their
partner’s feedback, helps direct their revision efforts. Alternatively, an alarm could be set to ring
at exactly 30 seconds.
3. In our classes, effective feedback is a skill that is typically covered before networking,
and we take a few moments to remind students how to do so effectively, e.g., start with the
positives, be specific, address the behavior and not the person. We recommend that students
are instructed or reminded how to give feedback prior to implementing this exercise; most
organizational behavior and skills textbooks contain this information.
4. Debrief questions taken from de Janasz, Dowd, and Schneider (2006), p. 303.
5. From de Janasz and Davis (2000); also appears in de Janasz, Dowd, & Schneider (2006),
p. 304.
6. We use this term as analogous to the practice of speed dating, where individuals have
just a few minutes to meet a person and engage in a targeted conversation before moving on
to multiple successive first meetings with others in an effort to quickly find who/what they’re
looking for.
de Janasz, Forret / Learning The Art of Networking 647
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7. The various role assignments collectively cover three possible outcomes: (1) “I
help/need you, you help/need me” (direct, immediate reciprocity), (2) “I help you now, you
help me later” (direct, future reciprocity), and (3) “I can’t help you directly, but I know some-
one who knows someone who can possibly help you” (indirect, collective reciprocity).
8. This student was referring to a realization of the many opportunities missed because of
the inattention to networking over his extended career. Based on where he saw himself—in the
twilight of his career—his comments reflected a feeling that the window of using networking
was nearly closed.
9. At least 30 roles have been developed and are available from the first author.
10. The networking quiz is adapted from Forret and Sullivan (2002).
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... Scholars have suggested that career adaptability is transactional competencies as a result of the interplay between person and environment, which in turn facilitating a smooth career adjustment and development (Savickas, 1997;Savickas and Porfeli, 2012;Zacher, 2014a). Similarly, social capital facilitates "reciprocal transactions" (Wall et al., 1998, p. 305) that provide timely career-related resources and information and thereby nurture a successful career and task completion (de Janasz and Forret, 2008;Seibert et al., 2001). Therefore, a high level of social capital characterized by diverse and strong relationships is more likely to provide additional resources and Social capital and career adaptability information for achieving new and challenging work demands, which is the core aspect of career adaptability. ...
... In line with previous studies (Maurer et al., 2011;Seibert et al., 2001), our findings indicate that having a large volume of networks enables individuals to occupy strategic positions when seeking career-related resources: the larger the size of the network, the higher accessibility to help and resources from people within that network. Furthermore, this potential accessibility to a large network size instilled a sense of emotional comfort and confidence to resolve career-related issues (de Janasz and Forret, 2008;Zhu et al., 2013). In the same vein, we found that intimate relationships are also a source for enhancing career adaptability. ...
Purpose From a social capital perspective, this study aims to shed light on the link between social capital and career adaptability by focusing on how social connections and interactions shape and nurture career adaptability. Drawing on socioemotional selectivity theory, the authors further examined the critical moderating role of age on the above relationship. Design/methodology/approach Survey responses from 208 HRD professionals were analyzed via a moderated mediation analysis. Findings The results showed that there is a positive relationship between social capital (network size and intimate network) and career adaptability; frequent interaction increases intimacy, in turn enhancing career adaptability; and the indirect effect of social capital on career adaptability (via intimate network) is stronger when the employee is younger. Originality/value The most novel theoretical contribution of this study is that the authors lend empirical support to the connection between social capital and career adaptability moderated by age. The study also contributes to understanding how core aspects of social capital are inter-related each other and have directional relationships.
... Furthermore, young people in the current study emphasized the importance of networking. Indeed, the significance of networking and networking competency for career success is well-documented [29,30]. Together, these findings provide guidance for the development and evaluation of Upcoming Youth interventions, which should directly target the outcomes that youth want to achieve. ...
Full-text available
Background While interventions have been developed and tested to help youth who have become disconnected from work and school, there is a paucity of research on young people’s intervention preferences. This study aims to understand young people’s preferred intervention outcomes and approaches for youth who are out of work and school. Methods Thirty youth participated in virtual focus groups. Transcripts were analyzed using thematic analysis. Results Youth want interventions and approaches that support them in (1) vocational readiness, (2) securing a job, and (3) mental health and well-being, while providing them with (4) high-contact, individualized, and integrated support. Conclusions Young people want interventions to be individualized and integrated, providing a high level of support for their educational and employment pursuits as well as their mental health and well-being. Incorporating youth's perspectives when designing interventions can increase intervention relevance and potentially service uptake, helping youth continue to pursue their educational and vocational goals.
... Network-based leadership development helps participants understand the characteristics of effective networks, assess the effectiveness of their own network, and learn strategies to improve (Cullen-Lester et al., 2016). A guiding assumption of these efforts is that developing networking skills enhances individual career success by facilitating the crafting of effective networks, which provide resources including support, sponsorship, and access to relevant information (Cullen-Lester et al., 2016;de Janasz & Forret, 2008;Wolff et al., 2008;Wolff & Moser, 2009). Indeed, engaging in the strategies taught in these programs has been linked to higher levels of performance (Casciaro et al., 2014;Sturges et al., 2005), greater career success (Forret & Dougherty, 2004;Langford, 2000;Luthans et al., 1985;Michael & Yukl, 1993;Orpen, 1996;Shipilov et al., 2014), higher salaries and salary growth (Forret & Dougherty, 2004;Gould & Penley, 1984;Wolff & Moser, 2009), and better job and career satisfaction (Forret & Dougherty, 2004;Langford, 2000;Wolff & Moser, 2009). ...
This study explores how the motivational framing of a network training program may positively or (inadvertently) adversely impact participants' discomfort with strategic networking and motivation to network. We examine the impact of a “me‐focused” framing (i.e., on the personal career benefits that individuals can accrue through strategic networking) and a “we‐focused” framing (i.e., on the benefits to the team/organization of individuals' strategic networking) compared to a control group in two field‐based quasi‐experiments. In both studies, we found no difference between the two training frames in their effect on the two training outcomes when looking at participants' reactions, on average. However, in the second study, we find that individual differences in the way participants relate to others (i.e., the extent to which they endorse an individual or a collective self‐concept) change the impact of the framing on their discomfort with and motivation to network. The findings highlight the importance of considering the match or mismatch between training framing and self‐concept. In the we‐focused condition, a match was related to decreased networking discomfort, while a mismatch was related to increased discomfort and decreased motivation. In the me‐focused condition, a mismatch was counter‐intuitively related to decreased discomfort. These findings suggest that considering participants' reactions to training (i.e., change in discomfort and motivation), on average, may mask important differences in their response to network‐based training and that tailoring network training to participants' self‐concepts may be an important consideration for human resource management professionals.
Mitarbeitende sollten ihr Wissen ständig erweitern und neue Kompetenzen entwickeln. Diese Notwendigkeit steigt mit fortschreitendem Wandel in der Arbeitswelt. Sie sollen sich an diesen anpassen und mit ihm umzugehen lernen. Ziel der Personalentwicklung der Zukunft ist es, dass Mitarbeitende Angebote freiwillig und selbstständig nutzen, um dies zu erreichen. Mitarbeitende sollten dazu befähigt werden, Verantwortung für die eigene Weiterentwicklung und -bildung zu übernehmen. Lebenslanges Lernen wird immer wichtiger und stellt eine Schlüsselkompetenz der Zukunft dar. Wichtige Elemente des lebenslangen Lernens am Arbeitsplatz sind vier Dimensionen, die in einer gegenseitigen Verbindung stehen und sowohl die Mitarbeitenden selbst, deren Führungskräfte sowie die Personalentwicklung bzw. das Human Resource Management betreffen: Reflexion, selbstständiges Lernen, Zukunftskompetenzen entwickeln und Netzwerken. Die Verantwortung für die Sicherung der eigenen Beschäftigungsfähigkeit liegt bei den Mitarbeitenden selbst – sie sollen selbstständig und eigenverantwortlich lernen. Durch die Veränderungen und den Fortschritt wird das Erlernen neuer Fähigkeiten für alle Arbeitnehmenden zwingend erforderlich, Schlüsselkompetenzen, „Future Skills“, entscheiden in den kommenden Jahren über den Erfolg des Unternehmens und sichern die Beschäftigungsfähigkeit der Mitarbeitenden. Sie sollten folglich lernen, sich selbst einschätzen zu können, um zu wissen, in welchen Bereichen ihre Stärken, aber auch ihre Entwicklungsbereiche liegen, um daran arbeiten zu können – Mitarbeitende sollten sich selbst reflektieren. Netzwerke, ob persönlich, beruflich oder aus einem bestimmten Interesse heraus, können helfen, das eigene Verhalten, Wissen und Schlüsselfähigkeiten zu reflektieren. So kann neues Wissen erworben und kollaborativ am Aufbau neuer Kompetenzen gearbeitet werden.
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Damgalanma, özellikle Covid 19 küresel salgın sürecinde ortaya çıkan riskli ve güvenli olmayan çalışma koşulları karşısında sağlık çalışanlarının sıklıkla maruz kaldığı durumu ifade etmektedir. Literatürde, sağlık çalışanlarının salgın ve bulaşıcı hastalıklar sebebiyle damgalanmayla karşılaştığı ve damgalanmanın doğurduğu çeşitli sonuçların ele alındığı görülmektedir. Bu doğrultuda, çalışmada Covid 19 sürecinde görev yapan sağlık çalışanlarının damgalanmaya maruz kalma şekillerinin ve damgalanmanın sonuçlarının bir model çerçevesinde sunulması amaçlanmaktadır. Araştırma amacı kapsamında farklı hastanelerde görev yapan; kıdem, yaş, çalışma birimi gibi farklı kriterler esas alınarak, 28 çalışan ile yarı yapılandırılmış soru formu aracılığıyla mülakatlar gerçekleştirilmiştir. Mülakatlardan elde edilen veriler MAXQDA nitel veri analizi programı kullanılarak kodlanmış ve kategorize edilmiştir. Kodların ve kategorilerin görselleştirilmesinde frekans analizi, karşılaştırmalı analiz ve ilişki analizlerinden yararlanılmıştır. Analiz sonuçlarına göre, damgalanmaya maruz kalan sağlık çalışanlarının karşılaştığı sonuçlar dört ana tema çerçevesinde sekiz alt-tema olarak sınıflandırılmıştır. Bununla birlikte sağlık çalışanlarının maruz kaldığı damgalanma sonuçları “bireysel”, “örgütsel”, “toplumsal” ve “ailevi” olarak dört ana tema kapsamında sınıflandırılmıştır.
Gender, wine, and culture are inextricably connected. The literature is recent with a geographically diffuse focus. Gender roles seem entrenched in many of the world’s winemaking cultures and more fluid in others, reminding us that gender culture varies geographically, though we lack enough evidence to disentangle the two influences on occupational roles. Family businesses especially continue to provide opportunities for women despite patterns of enduring male dominance. Women have also emerged, often from family experience, as entrepreneurs with a different but effective management style. They create networks, challenge governance, and excel at wine marketing. Female winemakers have become an extrinsic cue for wine. This chapter surveys the literature for common themes as well as analytic gaps and calls for more research dedicated to inter- and intra-country analyses across wine cultures.
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here have been glimmers of progress in U.S. corporations for women and bers of racial and ethnic minority groups. In 2002, Fortune published its ist of the 50 Most Powerful Black Executives in ~ m e r i c a. ' The Executive eadership Council, a professional network for senior African American ex-utives in Fortune 500 firms, has grown from I9 members in 1956 t o over 340 embers today, with women making up one-third of the membership. Although e signs of upward movement are becoming more visible, the pace is slow. For stance, although women account for about half of all managerial a n d profes-onal positions, they hold only 8 percent of executive vice president positions d higher at Fortune 500 companies, and only 5 percent are among t h e top five ghest paid for each company.* A number of explanations exist for the lack of upward advancement for omen and minorities. A Catalyst study found that both Fortune 1000 CEOs d women executives agreed that lack of line experience was a major factor eventing women's upward movement. Other major barriers cited include ex-usion from informal networks, negative stereotypes about women, lack of ac-ountability of top leaders for advancing women, lack of role models, lack of entoring, and lack of awareness of organizational politics.3 Constraints posed social networks can help explain the obstacles women and minorities face that ult in their restricted upward movement in organizations. The constraints me in a variety of forms, such as increased difficulty in forming social networks and lower levels of influence held by the members of their social networks. onsistent with Ragins's definition, the term nlinority will be used here to refer those groups traditionally lacking power in organizations-including women d members of racial and ethnic groups.4 In this chapter, I will first discuss the need for more attention to the social pita1 of minorities and important factors to consider in building social net-rks. Second, I explore three major barriers minorities face in developing their
Complete resource--updated research, current examples, many experiential exercises--for teaching interpersonal skills. IM and other supplements available.
This personal historical article traces the development of the Big-Five factor structure, whose growing acceptance by personality researchers has profoundly influenced the scientific study of individual differences. The roots of this taxonomy lie in the lexical hypothesis and the insights of Sir Francis Galton, the prescience of L. L. Thurstone, the legacy of Raymond B. Cattell, and the seminal analyses of Tupes and Christal. Paradoxically, the present popularity of this model owes much to its many critics, each of whom tried to replace it, but failed. In reaction, there have been a number of attempts to assimilate other models into the five-factor structure. Lately, some practical implications of the emerging consensus can be seen in such contexts as personnel selection and classification.