UCL School of Management

2 March 2016

Network like a chameleon for career success

Being a social ‘chameleon’ is key to building a successful network within an organisation. Be the go-to person for help and advice, says Dr Blaine Landis from the UCL School of Management, whose research reveals that chameleon-like qualities are often key to the role. 

The people who monitor social situations and adjust their behaviour accordingly tend to be sought out over people who pay less attention to the demands of different situations.

This position as an informal advisor was found to be more closely tied to job performance and career success than other positions within the network. Claiming more ties to other people i.e. saying that many people are your friends, isn’t correlated with success – it’s having other people claim ties to you. 

“Some think that extraversion is key,” says Dr Landis, “But we didn’t find any evidence for that. While extraverts claim a large number of ties to other people at work, they don’t tend to be sought for help and advice, which is what helps your career the most.” 

Surprisingly, the study also found that agreeable people do not tend to hold more advantageous network positions. Predictably, neurotic people are less likely to be approached for help and advice.

These findings come from an analysis of 138 independent studies published in the journal Organization Science.

For more information, a copy of the paper, or to speak to Dr Landis, contact Stephanie Mullins at BlueSky PR on smullins@bluesky-pr.com or call +44 (0)1582 790 706.

Last updated Thursday, 10 March 2016