Creating connections: A multidimensional construct of employee connecting behavior, antecedents, and relationships to creative outcomes

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Breidenthal, Amy
Liu, Dong
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When a person introduces two people to each other who were previously unacquainted, a myriad of benefits may accrue to the newly connected individuals, their work, and their organizations. While much research investigates the outcomes of new collaborations and extending one’s own network, much less is known about the motivations and outcomes for individuals who introduce others in their social network. Creative behaviors (actions that lead to novel and useful outcomes) often take the form of uniting diverse ideas or importing material from one domain to inspire new solutions in another domain. Relatedly, making a new introduction is an act of uniting two previously unconnected people or bringing an individual from one area in the social network into another. Therefore, connecting two previously unconnected individuals may be well-informed by existing creativity theories. In this dissertation, I build off the robust creativity literature to theorize about the behavior of introducing new and useful connections between people, which, like creative behavior, may ultimately lead to creative outcomes. Specifically, I develop a multidimensional construct of employee connecting behavior, which I define as discretionary acts of introducing a professional contact (A) to a new person (B). I propose four distinct types of employee connecting behavior, create and validate new survey measures to assess these types, and propose and test a theoretical model of why employees connect others, and what impact this may have on creative outcomes.
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