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Women's and men's networks in the workplace : attitudes, behaviours and outcomes

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Title: Women's and men's networks in the workplace : attitudes, behaviours and outcomes
Author: McBain, Laura-Lynne
Degree Doctor of Education - EdD
Program Counselling Psychology
Copyright Date: 1990
Subject Keywords Work environment.; Job satisfaction.; Mentoring in business.; Mentoring in the professions.; Quality of work life.
Abstract: Homosociality, the societal norm toward same-gender social bonding, has been hypothesized as an important explanatory variable in the maintenance of occupational segregation by gender and the low status of women in traditionally male-dominated occupations (Lipman-Blumen, 1976; Reagan & Blaxall, 1976). In this investigation of homosociality in the workplace, 257 women and 197 men employed in managerial, supervisory, professional, and technical positions in seven organizations completed a questionnaire regarding their career development and interpersonal relationships in their current organization. Predictions derived from homosociality theory and the literature and research on mentoring, friendship, and organizational networks were tested. Of the 17 hypotheses associated with five research questions, 8 were fully or partially supported, 6 were not supported, and 3 could not be tested because factor analysis did not support the variable of interest (lifetime attachment). Alpha was apportioned using the Bonferroni inequality procedure; probability levels ranged from .025 to .0025 depending on the number of significance tests conducted for each question. Analysis of variance (Gender x Gender Composition of Network) and simple main effects analysis performed on mentoring and relationship provisions (intimacy, similarity, defiance of convention, respect for differences) scores indicated one significant main effect for gender: women's same-gender networks provided more intimacy than men's. Significant main effects for gender composition were: (a) men's same-gender networks provided more mentoring than their cross-gender networks; (b) women's same-gender networks provided more intimacy than their cross-gender networks; and (c) for both genders, same-gender networks provided higher levels of similarity and defiance of convention than cross-gender networks. Correlational analyses indicated: (a) for women, but generally not for men, homosocial attitudes were significantly related to the size and activities of same- and cross-gender networks; (b) for both genders, same- and cross-gender mentoring and primarily same-gender relationship provisions were positively and significantly related to career- and job-related outcomes. Homosociality was evident in attitudes, network activities, and outcomes. Results also indicated signs of organizational gender integration. Implications for theory and counselling, and suggestions for future research, are discussed.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/32295
Series/Report no. UBC Retrospective Theses Digitization Project [http://www.library.ubc.ca/archives/retro_theses/]
Scholarly Level: Graduate

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