The purpose of this study is to examine how individuals network and develop instrumental relationships, focusing in particular on what enables and what constrains individuals' networking attempts.
The study uses a qualitative methodology. A total of 30 semi‐structured interviews with managers were conducted and analyzed using a grounded theory approach.
Access opportunities, positive perceptions, and compatible interests enable networking, whereas the absence or cessation of common interests constrains it. Furthermore, this paper sheds light on the iterative aspect of networking.
Individuals' ability to recall networking experiences and social desirability bias might have influenced the single‐sourced data.
Networking is a complex career strategy that develops in conjunction with potential sponsors for which there is a need to focus on others and iteratively network from the start of one's career.
This qualitative study contributes to the growing body of research on networking and is the first to have identified what facilitates and what hinders networking attempts. It also integrates a dynamic perspective on developing relationships with potential sponsors.
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