Publication Date

10-2015

Abstract

KEY FINDINGS

* Dormant ties have a strong effect on an employee's organizational commitment. In contrast to employees’ active relationships, which can be time consuming to maintain and result in stress at higher levels, the benefits of dormant ties do not appear to diminish at higher levels of connectivity.

* Employees with more adversarial (“negative”) active relationships are less committed to the organization. However, negative dormant relationships (i.e., old adversarial ties with whom people lost touch) have no effect on employees’ organizational commitment.

* Dormant relationships powerfully affect how people think about and value their active relationships, and vice versa:

  • Employees feel less constrained by their active relationships when they have more former contacts to whom they can potentially turn. At the same time, employees feel less dependent on utilizing their former contacts when they successfully build new relationships.
  • Trusted dormant relationships make negative active relationships significantly more tolerable.
  • Dormant relationships become particularly valuable to employees when they share a mutual active relationship in common with the dormant tie.

Comments

Recommended Citation
McCarthy, J. (2015, October). Dormant ties: Out of sight, but not out of mind (CAHRS ResearchLink No. 2). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, ILR School.

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