Women and Social Capital Networks in the IT Workforce

Women and Social Capital Networks in the IT Workforce

Allison J. Morgan (The Pennsylvania State University, USA) and Eileen M. Trauth (The Pennsylvania State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2006 |Pages: 7
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-815-4.ch196
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Abstract

Currently, the IT industry is experiencing explosive growth. As the need for more skilled IT workers increases, the focus on the diversity of individuals participating in IT jobs is highlighted. The under represented populations of women and minorities are being evaluated to determine ways to increase their lasting participation in the technology workforce. Although initiatives and programs have been established to recruit a more diverse labor force, the under representation persists. In an effort to address the problem of under represented populations in the IT workforce, it is necessary to evaluate the situation from a variety of angles and views. Specifically, we seek to better understand the “gender gap” in the IT workforce and the effect of social capital networks in the organization on women. Social capital can be defined as “an instantiated informal norm that promotes cooperation between two or more individuals” (Fukuyama, 1999, p. 1). Social capital among workers in the organization has been attributed to career success due to increased access to information, resources, and sponsorship (Seibert, Kraimer, & Liden, 2001). One of the ways that social capital can be gained is through participation in networks. Overall, the benefits or advantages gained through the networking process are attributed to an increase in access to and sharing of information. In this article, we consider social capital networks in the IT workforce and whether the existence of these networks assists in explaining the under representation of women in IT. Our research highlights the experiences of women practitioners and academics currently working in the IT field. Our aim is to uncover the story behind the organizational chart. In doing so, we summarize a study on women’s participation with social networks in the IT workforce presented in Morgan, Quesenberry, and Trauth (2004).

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