I once answered this on this blog when I answered the question “Why Do So Many People Keep Their Connections Private?”, but since it has been awhile, and since this question was asked from a different perspective, I think it is important to revisit the topic.
First of all, in order to even potentially be able to browse anyone’s connections, you first have to be directly connected to that person. I realize that in other platforms like Facebook the option exists to allow everyone to browse your friends, whether or not they are connected with you. Remember, LinkedIn is different in that it is a social network platform for professionals, so the idea is that no one is exposing anything without a little mutual trust (i.e. connecting) to begin a relationship.
Furthermore, assuming that you are connected AND if they have allowed you to see their contacts you should be able to click the number of connections they have in their Summary and then see them all. You should know that a lot of people, including myself, do not openly display our contacts in our profile to those that we are connected to. There are many reasons for this, but if you are in sales or a competitive industry where you don’t want others to see your contacts, it is in your best interest to not show anyone. Since LinkedIn is for professionals, so you can see why a lot of people to decide to do this.
Another reason why people don’t display their connections is because in LinkedIn you don’t need to. If you are searching for someone that you are not connected to but I am, I will be displayed as the person connecting and then you can contact me if you’d like to be introduced. Also, people don’t want to be looked at as merely walking Rolodexes 😉 But there are many people who think that you should be open with your contacts and there is no reason to hide them. So as you can see, there is no one right answer here.
If you are interested in deciding whether or not you want those that you are directly connected with to view your contacts, you can access this setting by going to “Settings” and then choosing “Connections Browse” in “Privacy Settings”.