Forming new relationships, particularly with those who have power and status, provides many professional benefits. However, individuals are often reluctant to engage in such behaviors or are ineffective in doing so. In this paper, we take an interpersonal perspective to specify a psychological barrier that people experience in the context of professional networking. We introduce the concept of rejection sensitivity based on organizational rank and test our hypotheses in four studies. Study 1 established the concept of rank-based rejection sensitivity, showing that people experience a significantly higher level of rejection sensitivity when networking with a higher than lower rank target. Studies 2 and 3 identified that the salience of power, not status, underlies rank-based rejection sensitivity. Study 4 introduced an intervention strategy to reduce networkers’ experience of rejection sensitivity when networking upwards. This paper not only contributes to the literature of rejection sensitivity and professional networking, but also provides concrete advice to professionals on how to reduce psychological barriers when seeking to form new ties.
ZOU, X., LEE, J.W. et SCHOLER, A. (2018). Rejection Sensitivity and Forming New Professional Relationships. Dans: Academy of Management. Academy of Management Proceedings, pp. 10260.