Refereed journal article or data article (A1)

Why women build less effective networks than men: The role of structural exclusion and personal hesitation




List of Authors: Elena Greguletz, Marjo-Riitta Diehl, Karin Kreutzer

Publisher: Sage

Publication year: 2018

Journal: Human Relations

Volume number: 72

Issue number: 7

Number of pages: 28

ISSN: 0018-7267

eISSN: 1741-282X

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0018726718804303

URL: https://doi.org/10.1177/0018726718804303


Abstract

Studies have shown that women’s professional networks are often less
powerful and effective than men’s in terms of exchanged benefits, yet
the motivations that underlie the networking behaviours remain less well
understood. Based on an interview study of 37 high-profile female
leaders working in large German corporations, we found that not only the
extrinsic barrier of structural exclusion from powerful networks, but
also the intrinsic barrier of women’s hesitations to instrumentalize
social ties are key to answering our research question: Why do women build less effective networks than men?
Our analysis points to the existence of structural exclusion resulting
from work–family conflict and homophily. With regard to personal
hesitation, we identified two elements that were associated with
under-benefiting from networking: moral considerations in social
interactions and gendered modesty. Our study makes two important
contributions. First, by highlighting personal hesitation as an
intrinsic barrier, it extends the understanding of women’s motivations
for networking based on social exchange theory. Second, based on
structural barriers and personal hesitation, it develops a grounded
theory model of networking that offers a holistic understanding of
reasons that, from the perspective of the focal women, contribute to
gender inequality in the workplace.


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Last updated on 2021-24-06 at 08:57