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Title: Integrating individual psychology and social networks
Author: Weis, Laura Maria
ISNI:       0000 0004 7226 9551
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2017
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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.
Supervisor: Furnham, A. F. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available