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Use crisis to revive ‘dormant’ ties


Now is the time to reconnect with your dormant social network, says article in MIT Sloan Management Review co-authored by Dr Thomas Roulet.

A network of people social distancing.
Dr Thomas Roulet.
Dr Thomas Roulet

Coronavirus lockdowns around the world provide a “perfect opportunity” to reawaken dormant ties with relationships weakened by time or distance, says a new article in MIT Sloan Management Review co-authored by Thomas Roulet of Cambridge Judge Business School.

Relationships that may have been underexploited in recent times might be with friends from university, former neighbours, previous co-workers or distant relatives, says the article entitled “Your Dormant Social Network”.

“Now is the time to reopen online discussions that have been left idle and reach out to old friends and colleagues via social media platforms or, perhaps, even an old-fashioned phone call,” says the article co-authored by Thomas Roulet, University Senior Lecturer in Organisation Theory and Deputy Director of the MBA programme at Cambridge Judge, and Ben Laker, Professor of Leadership at Henley Business School at the University of Reading.

In fact, the input we can get from these more distant relationships is often more valuable, because the information from people less likely to share the same current background will be fresher and less redundant. This could help people find innovative approaches when the situation reverts to some degree of normalcy, whether in helping us find a new career move or business partnership. In the same way, studies on entrepreneurship have shown such “nonredundant knowledge” enables innovation and helps avoid conformity, the article says.