Formal Women-Only Networks: Literature review and propositions

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Journal Article
Personnel Review, 2017, 46 (5), pp. 1004 - 1018
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The purpose of this paper is to review the emerging literature on formal women-only business networks and outline propositions to develop this under-theorised area of knowledge and stimulate future research. We review the existing literature on formal internal and external women-only networks and use the broader social capital and network literature to frame our arguments and develop propositions. Propositions are developed regarding how both internal and external formal women-only business networks can be of value for members, firms/organisations and the wider social group of women in business. We focus on the distinction between external and internal formal women-only networks while also acknowledging the broader diversity that can characterise such networks. Our review provides the reader with an insight into the state of the art and a set of propositions that present opportunities for future research. The paper provides insights into how women in business, organisations and wider society can leverage value from both internal and external formal women-only business networks. The paper sheds light on the under-studied and under-theorised phenomenon of formal women-only business networks. Beyond the individual member level, we suggest that such networks can be of value for organisations and the wider social group of women in management and leadership positions.
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