Synergistic Effects of Relationship Managers’ Social Networks on Sales Performance

Gabriel R. Gonzalez, Thunderbrid School of Global Management
Danny Pimentel Claro, Insper Education and Research Institute
Robert W. Palmatier, University of Washington

This article integrates relationship marketing and social network perspectives to develop and test a model that links the informational and cooperative benefits stemming from relationship managers’ social capital structure (brokerage and density) and relations (formal and informal networks) with objective sales performance. The authors demonstrate the effect of cross-network and overlap-network synergies on performance. Data about both formal and informal networks of 464 employees, including 101 relationship managers, demonstrate that relationship managers’ performance improves with cross-network synergy when informational benefits from wide-reaching, non-overlapping ties in the informal network combine with the cooperative benefits of a densely interconnected formal network. In addition, the effects of formal and informal social capital structure on performance increase significantly when relationship managers have a high degree of network overlap between their formal and informal networks.


Gabriel R. Gonzalez, Danny Pimentel Claro, and Robert W. Palmatier (in press) “Synergistic Effects of Relationship Managers’ Social Networks on Sales Performance,” Journal of Marketing