An Empirical Investigation of Gender Dynamics and Organizational Change

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With a research focus on understanding and affecting institutional change in a North Eastern University, a faculty publication database was developed to examine gender patterns in publication activities over a period of nine years. Data from this database were used to construct co-authorship networks in which nodes represent tenured/tenure track/research faculty. Hypotheses grounded in literature review of the field and classic social network centrality measures (closeness, eigenvector, and betweeness) are tested on the network to examine collaboration patterns vis-à-vis gender dynamics in the organizational structure. Findings from this study have implications in research and practice. The paper concludes by suggesting how change agents across the country can use network analysis to support the advancement minorities—by gender or race: by giving faculty access to the kind of aerial view of the organizational landscape normally available only to strategically positioned “boundary spanners”—a kind of GPS System for Career Management. Network representation and analysis presents chairs and deans with a more effective tool for identifying problematic characteristics of the units they manage as well as bringing added value to the task of program assessment, allowing changes to be tracked in organizational structure over time.