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Title: Gender and the Network Structures of Social Capital in Professional-Client Relationships
Authors: Pinnington, Ashly, H.
Suseno, Yuliani
Gardner, John
Keywords: gender equality
Issue Date: 2007
Series/Report no.: Advancing Women in Leadership;
Abstract: Recent studies in industrialized economies document a shift in gender composition of the labor market. They report an increase in the amount of women entering the labor force and in the number securing top-level positions in organizations (Jacobs, 1992; Kanter, 1977; Reskin & Roos, 1990). In professional labor markets, organizations' efforts to hire and promote women to senior ranks have assisted gender equality, but top-ranking male professionals still outnumber women professionals across many high-status professional sectors. This social phenomenon prevails in most professions and organizational forms, including professional service firms. Gender stratification, for example, within the legal profession is very apparent, producing income differences that are more substantial than that exists in the total labor force (Hagan, 1990). This paper proposes using social capital theory to examine the influences of gender in professional service firms. Moving beyond the intra-organizational perspective, we argue for the significance of network structures that extend across organizational boundaries. We focus specifically on gender differences in network relationships with clients and on the structural nature of the professional's social capital. We advance four propositions for future research on how individuals' network structures influence the attainment of higher income and status position in the firm. Finally, we make some suggestions on what individuals and professional service firms can do to promote more gender equality.
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