Dormant Ties: The Value of Reconnecting

Organization Science, 22(4): 923–939.

40 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2010 Last revised: 19 Oct 2012

Date Written: 2011


The social networks literature suggests that ties must be maintained to retain value. In contrast, we show that reconnecting dormant ties – former ties, now out of touch – can be extremely useful. Our research prompted Executive MBA students to consult their dormant contacts about an important work project; outcomes compared favorably to those of their current ties. In addition, reconnecting previously strong ties led to all of the four benefits that are usually associated with either weak ties (efficiency and novelty) or strong ties (trust and shared perspective). These findings suggest that dormant relationships – often overlooked or underutilized – can be a valuable source of knowledge and social capital.

Keywords: social capital, tie strength, knowledge transfer

Suggested Citation

Levin, Daniel Z. and Walter, Jorge and Murnighan, John Keith, Dormant Ties: The Value of Reconnecting (2011). Organization Science, 22(4): 923–939., Available at SSRN:

Daniel Z. Levin (Contact Author)

Rutgers Business School - Newark and New Brunswick ( email )

1 Washington Park
Newark, NJ 07102
United States
973-353-5983 (Phone)
973-353-1664 (Fax)


Jorge Walter

The George Washington University - School of Business ( email )

School of Business
2201 G Street, NW, Funger Hall 615
Washington, DC 20052
United States

John Keith Murnighan

Northwestern University, Harold H. Hines Jr. Distinguished Professor of Risk Management (deceased) ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Leverone Hall, 360
Evanston, IL 60208
United States
847-467-3566 (Phone)
847-491-8896 (Fax)

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