Expectations for Help Within and Across the Formal Boundaries of Executives’ Professional Advice Networks

Stewart R. Miller*, Marie Louise Mors, Michael McDonald

*Corresponding author for this work

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We develop a theoretical framework for executives’ expectations for receiving help from professional contacts in their advice networks across national (local/nonlocal) and organizational (inside/outside) boundaries. Moreover, we examine the effects of relational duration and trust in the relationships. In a study using unique data on 1807 professional relationships in a US-headquartered multinational consulting firm, we find that executives expect less help from outside contacts. This result is partially mediated by trust. Also, relational duration mitigates expectations for help from outsiders. Surprisingly, we find no evidence that executives expect less help from nonlocal contacts. Yet a test of nonlocal professional contacts reveals that geographic distance rather than cultural distance, affects the expectations for help. Another supplemental analysis shows that the type of help provided in the network influences the effects of organizational and national boundaries.

Original languageEnglish
JournalManagement International Review
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)617-642
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019


  • Executive advice networks
  • Expectations for help
  • Formal boundaries
  • Professional contacts
  • Service multinational enterprise

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