Culture and Cognitive Social Network: The Combination of Interdependent Cultural Orientations and Denser Egocentric Networks Leads to a Stronger Sense of Fit

Prof. Xi ZOU
Associate Professor, Nanyang Technological University

Date: 30 May 2024 (Thursday)
Time: 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Venue: E22-G015
Host: Prof. Kraivin CHINTAKANANDA, Assistant Professor of Management


The present research examined whether individuals in more independent versus interdependent cultures experience different levels of fit based on their perceptions of the density of their social networks (i.e., the extent to which people believe that members of their social network are interconnected). We propose that individuals in more interdependent cultures experience a stronger sense of fit when they perceive that their social contacts are more interconnected because interdependent cultures particularly value social roles, and more interconnected networks can lead people to experience greater clarity about what is expected of them in various roles. Employees in India, a more interdependent culture, experienced a stronger sense of fit in denser coworker networks than did employees in the US, a more independent culture (Study 1). An experiment manipulating both organizational culture and network structure found that the combination of an interdependent culture and a dense network led to the strongest sense of fit (Study 2). Study 3 provided support for the hypothesized mechanism: more interdependent individuals experienced a stronger sense of fit in a denser egocentric coworker network because of higher role clarity. Study 4 provided evidence for the generalizability of the findings: more interdependent students in Hong Kong experienced a stronger sense of belonging to the university if they had denser egocentric friendship networks. This research makes a novel connection between key theories in cultural psychology and cognitive social network research to uncover the psychological consequences of a match between interdependent cultural contexts and network density levels.



Dr. Xi Zou received a BBA with First Class Honours in Information Science from the Lingnan University in Hong Kong, a M.Phil in management from The Chinese University of Hong Kong, and a PhD in Organisational Behavior, from Columbia Business School in the United States. Her research draws on social psychology to understand how culture and motivation shape people’s judgments, decision-makings, and behaviors, and the implications for interpersonal dynamics and job performance. Her work has been published in the top management and psychology journals such as Academy of Management Review, Psychological Review, and Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. She is currently an Associate Editor at Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, as well as on editorial boards of Academy of Management Perspectives, Journal of Management Studies, and Personality and Social Psychology Review. Before joining NBS, she was a faculty at London Business School in the United Kingdom. She has extensive experience in teaching leadership development, organizational change, and business negotiation.

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