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Background Note: While conducted to study the impact of COVID on the professional networking endeavors of finance professionals in one of the world’s most competitive financial markets, Hong Kong, the following peer-reviewed study by researcher and author Jacqueline Militello may be beneficial for cybersecurity, information governance, and eDiscovery professionals as they seek to understand and adapt to the networking challenges of today’s COVID-constrained business world.

Informational Study by Jacqueline Militello*

Networking in the Time of COVID

Study Abstract

This study examines how during COVID professionals in the financial sector in Hong Kong experienced adaptations to previous ways of networking and what the material outcomes were. Becoming acquainted traditionally relies heavily on face-to-face interaction to advance and cement feelings of trust that eventually lead to successfully concluded transactions. Using linguistic ethnography, I interviewed 36 professionals about networking during COVID. For all three aspects of networking (creating, cultivating, and utilizing relationships for attaining professional goals), participants indicated significant changes as embodied co-present interactions all but ceased and were replaced by computer-mediated communication, including video platforms such as Zoom. Many, but not all, participants indicated that they had made either no new, or a greatly decreased number of new professional acquaintances, compared to pre-COVID times. The cues that would be present in face-to-face interaction were largely viewed as essential for establishing trust in deepening relationships and achieving professional goals such as concluding transactions. There were some compensatory affordances such as more ‘objective’ evaluations and equalization for those in more peripheral geographic locations. The material outcomes were that, for most, new relationships were significantly handicapped, resulting in networks in a state of stasis, a situation that privileged extant connections and those with strong professional networks.


Complete Study – Networking in the Time of COVID (PDF) – Mouseover to Scroll

Networking in the Time of COVID – Languages 2021

Read the original study.

Reference: Militello J. Networking in the Time of COVID. Languages. 2021; 6(2):92. https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6020092

*Shared with permission under Open Access and distributed under CC By 4.0.


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