The Influence of Social Network Relationships on Development: An Empirical Examination of Leadership Development

Elizabeth Conjar

Advisor: Stephen Zaccaro, PhD, Department of Psychology

Committee Members: Reeshad Dalal, Michelle Marks

Merten Hall, #5201
November 21, 2014, 03:00 PM to 12:00 PM


To date, little empirical work has focused on how social network patterns and characteristics influence leadership development. To fill this gap in the literature, the current study utilizes social network theory and analysis to examine how the structure and patterns of informal networks may contribute to an individuals’ growth related to leadership skills. Antecedents that contribute to building developmental relationships are also examined. One hundred and fifty-six managerial level individuals from a large distribution company located in the North East, South, and Mid-West regions of the United States participated in the current study. Findings indicate that the relationship between individuals’ social ties and their structure help facilitate leadership growth. In addition, this study demonstrates that individual trait and personality variables impact patterns of leader development networks. Implications for future research are discussed.