Cast A Wider Net in Networking
Women are good at networking with other women. Perhaps it's because they're more comfortable. The problem is that women are limiting their professional growth opportunities because, as we all know, women do not comprise the majority of top-level executives. That's not to say that women's groups don't have their place, but networking must necessarily extend beyond them.
Career Development International published a case study in 2011 that studied the impact of women's networks on participants' careers and the executives at the organization. They preface that report, stating that very little research has been done regarding the actual impact of women's networks on organizations. However, it did cite previous research stating, "The success or failure of these efforts is dependent on how they are perceived by organizational members-both men and women."
When studying organized networks intended to help promote diversity, the CDI article found very different viewpoints between what the members expected from the group and how executive management viewed it. Both sides saw it as a way to increase women in leadership in the case study. However, the executives, only one of whom was a woman, viewed it primarily as a mentoring vehicle and promoting diversity; the female group members looked at the women's network as strategic opportunity for the company that would benefit the bottom line, in addition to networking.
Women network differently than men, which impacts their careers. Read the complete Global Women's Leadership article by our own Publisher/Editor-in-Chief Sarah Snell Cooke.