2013 Dissertation Award

Congratulations to Catherine T. Shea, Ph.D. Dr. Shea is the recipient of the Richard Morland Dissertation of the Year Award for 2013, which was awarded in 2014.

Catherine Shea






Goal Pursuit and the Pursuit of Social Networks


Five studies using diverse methods examine goal pursuit as an antecedent to social network structure, finding that self-oriented and affiliation-oriented goal pursuit evoke unique patterns of interpersonal perception and motivation which lead to the development of sparser and denser social networks, respectively. Study 1 serves as an empirical summary of our theorizing: individuals primed with dense networks feel more efficacious pursuing affiliation-oriented goals versus self-oriented goals, and individuals primed with sparse networks feel more efficacious pursuing self-oriented goals than individuals primed with dense networks. Study 2 finds a correlation between personal goals and network structure. Studies 3 and 4 experimentally demonstrate that reminders of self versus affiliation-oriented goals lead to different cognitively-activated network structures. Study 5 finds that individuals entering a new social network with strong career goals (self-oriented goals) develop significantly sparser local networks and attain more central network positions; the opposite pattern emerges for individuals pursuing strong social goals (affiliation-oriented goals). Individuals strongly motivated to pursue both goals lose the network structure benefits of having a strong career goal. Findings support the hypothesis linking personal goal pursuit to network structure, a novel approach to integrating psychology and networks research.


Kellogg School of Management

Department of Management & Organizations

Jacobs Center 376

2001 Sheridan Road

Evanston, IL 60208