Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Business and Economics



First Advisor

Dr. Ajay Mehra


While organizations have significantly reduced the overt and intentional forms of sex discrimination that impeded women’s careers in the past, a great deal of research suggests women continue to face informal barriers in the workplace. One such arena in which women tend to be disadvantaged is in their workplace networks. In many ways, men and women have similar networks, yet women are less likely than their male counterparts to have personal relationships with high status coworkers. Scholars have long suggested that these strategic connections are valuable and may be especially beneficial to or necessary for women. Networking has long been touted as one way women can overcome workplace disadvantage by strategically developing and/or capitalizing on such networks, which can enable their success and satisfaction at work. However, networking is a considerable investment. Indeed, networking has been called women’s third shift, after work and family responsibilities. As such, it is vital that we understand how women and men can best capitalize on their investments in networking. This research seeks to add to our scholarly understanding by examining the extent to which men and women can translate their networking behaviors into high status connections and capitalize on those connections to enhance their performance and job satisfaction. Results suggest networking behaviors enable men and women to have friends with higher informal status. However, while men’s networking behaviors are related to having higher ranking (formal status) friends, women’s networking behaviors are related to having lower ranking friends. Post-hoc analyses begin to explore the possibility that these gender differences are due to choices made by or others’ reactions to male and female networkers. Results also distinguish between employees’ gender and legitimacy to shed light on how and why men and women can develop and capitalize on high status connections, providing practical implications for employees and organizations seeking to intervene to enable women and men to develop high status connections. This research uses multimethod data to illuminate ways in which both women and men can translate their networking behaviors into high status connections, workplace performance, and job satisfaction.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)