The push and pull of network mobility: how those high in trait-level neuroticism can come to occupy peripheral network positions

Gladstone, E, O'Connor, K and Taylor, W (2019) The push and pull of network mobility: how those high in trait-level neuroticism can come to occupy peripheral network positions. Behavioral Sciences, 9 (7). p. 69. ISSN 2076-328X OPEN ACCESS

Abstract

Field research shows that people’s network positions are determined, at least in part, by their traits. For instance, over time, actors higher in trait-level neuroticism move out to the network periphery. What is unknown is how this happens. Drawing on personality and social psychological theory, we generated a model that could explain the movement of actors who are higher in neuroticism. Our aim is to add to the existing empirical literature on the interplay of actor level traits and social networks, and do so using methods that can establish possible causal pathways. In four experiments, we tested two explanatory mechanisms—aversion on the part of alters and avoidance on the part of focal actors. Results showed that potential alters indeed perceived actors higher in neuroticism as aversive, leading them to block these actors from well-connected spots. Specifically, low perceived levels of likability prevented actors from being nominated to better positions. In a test of avoidance, actors higher in neuroticism recognized the benefits of better-connected network positions, but also saw them as costly, and thus, declined opportunities to occupy them. This work shows how both alters and egos can determine egos’ place in networks, and specifies how this is done.

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Item Type: Article
Subject Areas: Organisational Behaviour
Subjects: S > Social roles
E > Emotions
N > Network analysis
Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2019 11:27
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2020 01:11
URI: http://lbsresearch.london.edu/id/eprint/1200
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