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Integrating individual psychology and social networks

Weis, Laura Maria; (2017) Integrating individual psychology and social networks. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Using a wide range of methodological and theoretical frameworks this thesis aims to integrate the social network approach with psychological research. Chapter 1 provides an overview of the network perspective and the wide range of theories, concepts and applications. Further, a novel structural framework is offered, integrating the most important measures of network-positioning. Chapter 2 contains four studies examining how an individual’s personality and motivation relates to their perception of, and actual social network positioning. Study 1 shows that personality influences how people perceive themselves in social networks and that this perception moderates the well-researched relationship between personality and subjective wellbeing. The second study demonstrates that (similarity on) the Big Five personality factors affect the likelihood of selecting and attracting social network ties. Yet, effects are small and somewhat inconsistent with previous literature. Results of Study 3 did not support our hypothesis that differences in motivation are associated with the occupation of different social network positions, in an organizational setting. Lastly, study 4 shows how an individual’s political skill relates to his/her preferred and perceived personal networks, and their joint effect on job attitudes. Chapter 3 links SNA with Social Cognition research. Study 1 demonstrates that high self-monitors are perceived as more similar to the self, and that this (partly) accounts for the well-known effect of self-monitoring on popularity in friendship networks. Study 2 examines if, and concludes that perceptions of high popularity negatively affects the quality of a friendship relations. Lastly, Study 3 demonstrates that an individual’s sense of power negatively impacts perceptual accuracy of dyadic relations in a friendship network. Chapter 4 emphasizes qualitative aspects of social network relations. Study 1 suggests that average frequency of tie “activation” as well as advice ties that co-occur with more personal ties, lead to increased levels of employee engagement. Study 2 demonstrates that costs of giving and benefits of receiving advice are more pronounced in informal, compared to formal work networks. Overall, it is concluded that the social network approach provides a powerful research tool for psychologists, yet being fraught with both methodological as well as theoretical challenges.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Integrating individual psychology and social networks
Event: University College London
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: Social Capital, Social Networks, Personality
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10022681
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