Thursday, August 18

Gender and workplace interactions: who is likely to lose?

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By Swati Sharma

Working Paper No- 426

Workplace interactions have been identified as a valuable source of information and career advancement. This study examines workplace interaction by looking at personal ties of 1744 blue-collar workers in 2 garment manufacturing units in the National Capital Region (NCR) of Delhi, India. Data analysis shows that men have a more expansive set of personal ties, even after controlling for variation in interpersonal and workplace-related characteristics. Women’s personal networks are smaller, clustered within their functional units and more homogeneous. While supervisors do not figure in personal networks of either gender, women are significantly less likely to mobilize interactions with supervisors for professional or personal purposes. Thus, women’s personal ties at the workplace exhibit patterns that are opposite of those identified by existing literature as instrumental for career advancement.

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