Dormant ties: The value of reconnecting

Daniel Z. Levin*, Jorge Walter, J. Keith Murnighan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The prevailing view of social network ties is that, if not continually maintained, they will wither and disappear, losing their value as social capital. In contrast, we propose that dormant ties-i.e., former ties in which two parties have lost touch-can be a valuable source of knowledge if re-connected. Moreover, we predict that dormant ties that were once strong ties can combine the two benefits of weak ties (efficiency and novelty) with the two benefits of strong ties (solidarity and comprehension). Our research observes the effects of executives who consulted with their dormant ties about an important work project. The results indicate that executives spent considerably less time consulting with their reconnected dormant ties than with their current ties, yet rated usefulness as either comparable or better. Also, as predicted, dormant strong ties combined all four benefits of network ties. These results point to the value of dormant ties as an overlooked and largely untapped source of social capital.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAcademy of Management 2008 Annual Meeting
Subtitle of host publicationThe Questions We Ask, AOM 2008
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008
Event68th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, AOM 2008 - Anaheim, CA, United States
Duration: Aug 8 2008Aug 13 2008


Other68th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, AOM 2008
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityAnaheim, CA


  • Knowledge transfer
  • Social capital
  • Weak ties

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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