Networking; How Does it Make You Feel? Exploring the Role of Emotion in the Relationship between Networking and Inclusion

Særós Mist Hrannarsdóttir

Student thesis: Master thesis


The purpose of this thesis is to examine how employees express emotions in networking and what those could imply for the emotional dynamics of organizational inclusion and exclusion. In this research, I explore the gap in where a deeper, empirical understanding of the emotional aspects of networking remains understudied, as well as the relationship between networking and organizational inclusion and exclusion. On a practical level, I consider the potential of networking as an enabler for more inclusive work environments. I build on theoretical developments of networking behaviour, organizational affect and psychology, as well as inclusion research. Emotions play a role in connecting these areas of research, as well as in providing a novel explanation of this connection. Drawing on a qualitative study of 35 in-depth individual interviews and two focus group interviews, I investigate what feelings respondents express related to networking, how respondents are affected by networking in various ways and what this implies for organizational inclusion and exclusion mechanisms. I argue that perceived positive emotions support feelings of inclusion, and that perceived negative emotions implicate exclusionary side-effects of that very same cultivation of inclusion. I therefore suggest that networking practices should be developed sensitively, by paying critical attention to entanglements of inclusion and exclusion. In conclusion I maintain that emotional consequences of networking need to be taken into account when considering organizational inclusion and exclusion mechanisms, both in terms of expanding our understandings and for practice. I believe that this objective is relevant for many practitioners within HR and management who wish to develop inclusive networking practices as well as to foster organizational inclusion.

EducationsMSc in Psychology, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2023
Number of pages91
SupervisorsSara Louise Muhr