compared to networking organizations that follow cultural norms driven by interpersonal relationships and social capital.

Smith-Doerr noted that there is also a significant difference in the prevalence of women and men in leadership positions with hierarchical versus networking organizations. Women are eight times more likely than men to move into supervisory positions in network-structured firms; however, women are significantly less likely than men to move into supervisory roles in hierarchical organizations. She further noted that men showed no difference in their propensity to advance into supervisory roles between organizational structures.3 Smith-Doerr elaborated on the probabilities of patenting in both organizational structures as shown in Figure 2-2. Only in the networking-type industry settings does gender equity in patenting productivity occur. In all other organizational structures, including industrial hierarchical organizations, significant gender gaps are evident, with increased probabilities for men to patent.


FIGURE 2-2 Predicted probabilities of patenting, by field and gender.

NOTE: Data labels refer to the difference in probabilities between men and women (male-female) and the female/male predicted probability ratio (multiplied by 100). All other variables were held at mean.

SOURCE: Whittington, K.B. and Smith-Doerr, L (2008). Women inventors in context:

Disparities in Patenting across Academia and Industry. Gender and Society. 22 (2): 194-218.

To understand both the leadership and patenting gender gap trending explained above, Smith-Doerr cited interview studies she and her colleagues have performed. She emphasized three recurrent themes from these interviews that help to explain the greater gender equity at biotechnology firms: flexibility in collaboration, increased organizational transparency, and emphasis on collective rewards. Smith-Doerr further explained that these characteristics are examples of network organizations in which there is indefinite and sequential interaction structure, norms govern relations, partners pool resources, expectations foster collaboration but


3 Smith-Doerr, L. (2004), based on logistic regression analysis controlling for years since Ph.D., prestige of Ph.D. program; N=2,062.

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