Deliberate vs. Spontaneous Networking Behaviors and Information Search: An Interactive Experiment

Balint Dioszegi, Anne L. J. Ter Wal, Valentina Tartari, Daniella Laureiro-Martínez

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference abstract in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


While networking is frequently characterized in terms of dichotomous sets of behaviors, little is known about how individuals find a balance between them. This omission is especially striking in contexts where these dichotomies present themselves as trade-offs, forcing networking individuals to choose between opposing types of behaviors. Networking events are a prime example of such a context, as participants are concurrently searching for information and act as targets of others’ search efforts. We focus on two of the dichotomies that are most relevant in such social context – deliberate versus spontaneous as well as selfish versus altruistic networking – to examine how and why individuals respond differently to these trade- offs, and to evaluate the effectiveness of the observed approaches. We do so by way of an interactive networking experiment, which includes random assignment into treatment groups of varying levels of background knowledge, as well as real-time tracking of participants’ movement using sociometric badges. Our results allow us to differentiate between two routes taken by networking participants: a direct, deliberate and selfish one of information exploitation, and an indirect, spontaneous and altruistic one of information gathering, both of which may be understood as integral parts of the same cyclical process. We conclude by discussing the theoretical implications of our study.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Eightieth Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management
EditorsGuclu Atinc
Number of pages5
Place of PublicationBriarcliff Manor, NY
PublisherAcademy of Management
Publication date2020
Article number42
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2020: Broadening Our Sight - Virtual
Duration: 7 Aug 202011 Aug 2020
Conference number: 80


ConferenceThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2020
Internet address
SeriesAcademy of Management Proceedings

Cite this