IACM 2022 Abstract Book »
Instrumentality killed the cat (but curiosity saved it): The role of showcasing curiosity in information-gathering
People are often reluctant to engage in professional networking despite its importance to career success. They worry that requesting information from others to accomplish personal goals will make their counterparts feel used and their interactions disingenuous (Casciaro, Gino & Kouchaki, 2014). We argue that expressing curiosity facilitates networking and information-gathering. Specifically, when an individual showcases curiosity in their ask, their counterpart is less likely to feel used, increasing their counterpart’s willingness to engage and leaving their counterpart with more positive impressions of both the interaction and the asker. We find support for our hypotheses across two field studies on Twitter and Reddit and three lab studies (total n = 11,190). Our research suggests that curiosity is a valuable tool in networking and information-gathering. By showcasing curiosity, individuals can make networking interactions more effective and more enjoyable for themselves and their counterparts.