The paper "Creating a Fabric of Personal Contacts Who Will Provide Support " Is a great example of a Management Case Study. Networking is a process that builds professional relationships that can be leveraged in achieving personal and professional goals. Organizations nowadays demand leaders that are adept at developing networks of trust and mutual assistance. In fact, the process of forming networks defines the process of transitioning from functional management to being a strategic leader. In this essay, the concept of networking is introduced and several definitions presented to promote an understanding of the term.
Secondly, the essay deals with the three types of strategic relationships with a focus on where they fit in the process of transitioning from operational managers to business leaders. What is networking? Networking can be described as the activity of building, reinforcing, and maintaining professional relationships based on trust with a focus on furthering professional goals. Ibarra and Hunter (2007) define networking as the process of creating and retaining a group of associates, friends, and acquaintances for mutual benefit. It also refers to a group of associates who are capable of helping an individual in given situations.
The outcome of networking is a mesh of interconnected contacts that can be called on when feedback, support, insight, information, and resources are needed (Ibarra and Hunter 2007). Networking aims to come up with a group of trustworthy relationships that go beyond ordinary professional relationships. In many dealings, trust can earn a person's preferential treatment. Thus, knowing a person directly or indirectly in your professional circle is of great benefit (Ibarra and Hunter 2007). A strong network is crucial for gaining trust from people who you might encounter professionally.
What counts is not who you know, or who knows you, but who knows you as a trustworthy person. Types of networks and leader transition According to Ibarra and Hunter (2007), there are three types of internetworking employed by leaders in organizations. Operational, personal, and strategic networking form the three vital forms of networking that are vital for a leader’ s transition. Operational networking comes in handy in managing current internal responsibilities. On the other hand, personal networking is essential for the professional development process.
Professional networking allows the leader to gain insight and knowledge that help in establishing new business directions and engaging stakeholders (Zaheer, Gulati, and Nohria, 2000). Unfortunately, many managers utilize professional and personal networking but ignore strategic networking. Operational networking Operational networking is defined as networking focused on the efficiency of everyday work. It aims to maintain the functions and capacities required of the group. In operational networking most contacts are internal and the network orients towards current demand (Casciaro and Lobo 2005). Contacts for operational relationships are prescribed by the organizational structure and the task.
The operational relationship is more effective when the depth of the relationship is the focus. Good management at the operational level is dependent on strong working relationships with many stakeholders. Operational networks range from relationships with superiors to reports and peers (Ibarra and Hunter 2007). Other important relationships include networks of distributors, suppliers, and customers. Operational relationships aim to accomplish immediate tasks through cooperation and coordination with involved parties (Ibarra and Hunter 2007). While operational networking is not always easy, it provides a focus on a task and a very clear criterion for member inclusion in the group.
Even though identifying members of an operational network is straight forward, some managers encounter some blind spots. Some managers cannot figure out who to include in their network regarding some issues.
Casciaro, T., & Lobo, M. S. (2005). Competent jerks, lovable fools, and the formation of social networks. Harvard Business Review, 83(6), 92-99.
Ibarra, H., & Hunter, M. (2007). How leaders create and use networks.Harvard business review, 85(1), 40.
Zaheer, A., Gulati, R., &Nohria, N. (2000). Strategic networks. Strategic management journal, 21(3), 203.