Communication networks of women and men in a public accounting firm: A comparative analysis

Advances in Accountability: Regulation, Research, Gender and Justice

ISBN: 978-0-76230-518-6, eISBN: 978-1-84950-030-2

ISSN: 1041-7060

Publication date: 6 April 2001

Abstract

Although men and women enter public accounting in comparable numbers, a disproportionately small number of women advance to the rank of partner. A suggestion is sometimes made that women are either unaware of, or intentionally excluded from, informal communication networks within a firm. These networks socialize individuals into the organization, provide support and offer opportunities to informally influence decisions. The general assumption is that women are not integrated into organizational communication networks; however there has been no empirical research on actual network formation within an accounting firm. This study reports the results of an analysis of work and friendship networks among women and men in an office of an international accounting firm. The analysis uses a computer algorithm to identify networks of closely connected individuals known as cliques and to derive measures of an individual's prominence within communication networks. The clique analysis shows a notable lack of close relationships between female managers and male partners. Although women participate in the firm's informal communication networks, female mangers are less prominent in informal networks and do not have close ties with male partners, which suggests that women may face a glass ceiling in advancement to partner

Citation

Anne Gaffney, M., McEwen, R. and Jeanne Welsh, M. (2001), "Communication networks of women and men in a public accounting firm: A comparative analysis", Lehman, C. (Ed.) Advances in Accountability: Regulation, Research, Gender and Justice (Advances in Public Interest Accounting, Vol. 8), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 85-119. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1041-7060(01)08006-3

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Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2001, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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