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The gendered nature of role model status: an empirical study

The gendered nature of role model status: an empirical study Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to understand better the gendered nature of role model status within organizations. The paper aims to argue that women require organizational legitimacy to be perceived as a role model, whereas men rely primarily on the strength of social ties within their friendship networks. Design/methodology/approach – An empirical study of admissions department employees at a large eastern university within the USA was conducted. Using a social network approach, participants were asked to identify advice, friendship and role model relationships and provide information about awards and recognition received from the organization. Findings – The results showed that, in order to be perceived as a role model, females needed to give (but not ask for) advice, earn organizational rewards, hold leadership positions in the organization, and maintain strong ties with other employees. Males only had to have a number of friendship or advice ties to be seen as a role model. Research limitations/implications – The findings are consistent with the idea that females need to establish formal organizational status or legitimacy (e.g. leadership roles, rewards) in order to be perceived as a role model. In addition, balancing advice‐giving versus advice‐seeking is more important for female compared with male role models. Originality/value – This paper examines the concept of role modeling using a social network analysis, thus providing new insight about the impact of advice and friendship network centrality on role model status in organizations. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Career Development International Emerald Publishing

The gendered nature of role model status: an empirical study

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References (71)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2006 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1362-0436
DOI
10.1108/13620430610692953
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to understand better the gendered nature of role model status within organizations. The paper aims to argue that women require organizational legitimacy to be perceived as a role model, whereas men rely primarily on the strength of social ties within their friendship networks. Design/methodology/approach – An empirical study of admissions department employees at a large eastern university within the USA was conducted. Using a social network approach, participants were asked to identify advice, friendship and role model relationships and provide information about awards and recognition received from the organization. Findings – The results showed that, in order to be perceived as a role model, females needed to give (but not ask for) advice, earn organizational rewards, hold leadership positions in the organization, and maintain strong ties with other employees. Males only had to have a number of friendship or advice ties to be seen as a role model. Research limitations/implications – The findings are consistent with the idea that females need to establish formal organizational status or legitimacy (e.g. leadership roles, rewards) in order to be perceived as a role model. In addition, balancing advice‐giving versus advice‐seeking is more important for female compared with male role models. Originality/value – This paper examines the concept of role modeling using a social network analysis, thus providing new insight about the impact of advice and friendship network centrality on role model status in organizations.

Journal

Career Development InternationalEmerald Publishing

Published: Oct 1, 2006

Keywords: Gender; Management roles; Networking; Individual development

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