Women’s social capital in academia: A personal network analysis

Barthauer, Luisa; Spurk, Daniel; Kauffeld, Simone (2016). Women’s social capital in academia: A personal network analysis. International Review of Social Research, 6(4), pp. 195-205. De Gruyter 10.1515/irsr-2016-0022

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Developmental networks are ego-centered networks, and were found to be beneficial for career success and advancement. Especially in academia, the benefits of developmental networks are critical due to limitations in career stability, and its up-or-out character. Overall, they facilitate career success and advancement by providing access to social capital, which is more or less attainable depending on certain structural network characteristics. Diverging access to social capital for women and men is well known, however, little is known about developmental networks of female and male academic staff. Therefore, this study investigated cohesion and brokerage as indicators for access to social capital to explore gender differences. The sample consisted of n = 594 ego-networks of PhDs and postdocs, working at German universities and research institutes. Cohesion was measured by density and degree; brokerage by effectiveness and constraint. Results revealed that based on Coleman’s cohesion theory (1988, 1990), female researchers showed less access to social capital through less dense networks, but bigger ones implying more social capital. Moreover, based on Burt’s brokerage theory (1992, 2005), female researchers showed, against our assumptions, more brokerage social capital by showing greater effectiveness, and less constraint. Results provide insight into men’s and women’s access to social capital.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Work and Organisational Psychology

UniBE Contributor:

Spurk, Daniel


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology




De Gruyter




Daniel Michael Spurk

Date Deposited:

28 Aug 2018 13:53

Last Modified:

22 Oct 2019 20:51

Publisher DOI:






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