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Building Effective Networks

Build effective networks to enable you to offer more and have more impact.
Herminia Ibarra

Networks are vital to success; they enable you to offer more and have more impact. Herminia Ibarra, Charles Handy Professor of Organisational Behaviour at London Business School (formerly at INSEAD Business School,) explores the importance of networks, debunks common misconceptions about networks, and offers strategies for building effective networks. Ibarra highlights the power of strategic networks, which are critical for career advancement. Among the strategies discussed, some are especially relevant to women, including developing the value they bring to their network and, when facing time constraints, how to prioritize and invest in a few activities to enhance their networks.

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View Building Effective Networks Resources

Read more about Building Effective Networks:

  • How to Not Be a Networking Leech: Tips for Seeking Professional Advice: A New York Times article that provides tips for seeking professional advice, without being a "networking parasite": someone who takes another person's help for granted and fails to respect his or her time and advice.
  • How to Revive a Tired Network: In this Harvard Business Review article, Herminia Ibarra discusses three methods for reviving a tired network: breadth, connectivity and dynamism, and the various ways to incorporate these qualities into building your network.
  • 5 Common Misconceptions that Make You Bad at Networking: This Fast Company article explores common misconceptions about networks and provides tools to dispel and overcome these misconceptions.
  • Networking Tips from the Ultimate Networker: In this NPR story, Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn and a crucial aid in the success of several Silicon Valley startups, sheds light on what makes a strong and connected network.
  • Why Networking Should Be Your Top Priority: An article in the Huffington Post that focuses on the benefits of networking: the opportunities it creates, the shared expertise you learn, the relationships you cultivate, the personal development you undergo, the positive influences you obtain and the opportunity you have to inspire others.
  • Two Ways Women Can Network More Effectively, According to Research: The Harvard Business Review presents how the male-centeredness of networking serves to preclude a woman's ability to network. Collaboration and articulation of career goals are two strategies women can implement to overcome this hurdle.
  • Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader: Author Herminia Ibarra encourages leaders to make crucial changes in their jobs, their networks and themselves in order to move their career to the level they want. Ibarra suggests that leaders diversify their networks, restructure their jobs in order to ensure their contributions are meaningful and allow an evolution of leadership style.
  • Women’s jobs, Men’s jobs: Why Networking Can Lead to Lower-Paying Jobs: A Gender News article from the Clayman Institute reveals how networking may not be equally advantageous for men and women who are looking for jobs. Rather, networking may lead women and men into gender-segregated occupations.
  • Need for Networking Puts Black Job Seekers at Disadvantage: In this Wall Street Journal blog article, we learn how modern-day workplaces, where hiring is increasingly based on personal connections and internal referrals, African-Americans are at a disadvantage — since they don’t have as much “social capital” and aren’t as connected through networks.
View Building Effective Networks Speaker Biography

Herminia Ibarra


Herminia Ibarra

Herminia Ibarra is the Charles Handy Professor of Organizational Behavior at London Business School. Prior to joining LBS, she served on the INSEAD and Harvard Business School faculties.

An authority on leadership and career development, Thinkers 50 ranks Ibarra among the top management thinkers in the world. She is a fellow of the British Academy, a member of the World Economic Forum’s Expert Network, a judge for the Financial Times/McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award, one of Apolitica’s 100 most influential people in gender policy, and the 2018 recipient of the Academy of Management’s Scholar-Practitioner Award for her research’s contribution to management practice.

She is the author of best-selling books Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader and Working Identity: Unconventional Strategies for Reinventing Your Career. Ibarra also writes regularly  in leading academic journals and business publications including the Harvard Business Review, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, and New York Times. Ibarra speaks internationally on leadership and organizational transformation.

A native of Cuba, Ibarra received her M.A. and Ph.D. from Yale University, where she was a National Science Fellow.


View Effective Networks Academic References

Structural Holes and Good Ideas

Burt, Ronald S. 2004. “Structural Holes and Good Ideas.” American Journal of Sociology 110 (2):349–399.

The Contaminating Effects of Building Instrumental Ties: How Networking Can Make Us Feel Dirty

Casciaro, Tiziana, Francesca Gino, and Maryam Kouchaki. 2014. “The Contaminating Effects of Building Instrumental Ties: How Networking Can Make Us Feel Dirty.” Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 14-108.(

How Top Talent Uses Networks and Where Rising Stars Get Trapped

Cross, Rob and Robert Thomas. 2008. “How Top Talent Uses Networks and Where Rising Stars Get Trapped.” Organizational Dynamics 37:165-180.

The Strength of Weak Ties

Granovetter, Mark S. 1973. “The Strength of Weak Ties.” American Journal of Sociology 78(6):1360–1380.

Getting a Job: A Study of Contacts and Careers

Granovetter, Mark S. 1995. Getting a Job: A Study of Contacts and Careers. 2nd ed. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

How Star Women Build Portable Skills

Groysberg, Boris. 2008. “How Star Women Build Portable Skills.” Harvard Business Review. (

Homophily and Differential Returns: Sex Differences in Network Structure and Access in an Advertising Firm

Ibarra, Herminia. 1992. “Homophily and Differential Returns: Sex Differences in Network Structure and Access in an Advertising Firm.” Administrative Science Quarterly 37(3):422–447.

How Leaders Create and Use Networks

Ibarra, Herminia and Mark Lee Hunter. 2007. “How Leaders Create and Use Networks.” Harvard Business Review. (

How Twitter Users Can Generate Better Ideas

Parise, Salvatore, Eoin Whelan and Steve Todd. 2015. “How Twitter Users Can Generate Better Ideas.” Sloan Management Review. (…).

Collaboration and Creativity: The Small World Problem

Uzzi, Brian and Jarrett Spiro. 2005. “Collaboration and Creativity: The Small World Problem.” American Journal of Sociology 111(2):447–504.

The Increasing Dominance of Teams in Production of Knowledge

Wuchty, Stefan, Benjamin F. Jones, and Brian Uzzi. 2007. “The Increasing Dominance of Teams in Production of Knowledge.” Science 316(5827):1036– 1039.