License to Broker: How Mobility Eliminates Gender Gaps in Network Advantage. By: Zhang, Evelyn Y.; Aven, Brandy L. and Kleinbaum, Adam M. 2024. Administrative Science Quarterly. p1.

Brokerage in intra-organizational networks is critical to performance, but women exhibit less brokerage in their social networks and receive lower performance returns to the brokerage they exhibit than men do. We uncover a condition under which the gender gaps in network advantage are entirely negated: mobility. When women move between units of the organization, they increase their brokerage more than mobile men do. Further, such mobility eliminates the gender gap in returns to brokerage. Using a rich datasetincluding the personnel records, monthly performance, and email communications of thousands of employees in a large financial institution, we find support for our arguments by comparing the networks and objective performance of those who changed jobs with matched non-movers prior to and following each job change. In probing why this might be the case, we find that women movers are more likely to maintain communication ties to colleagues from their previous roles and that these persistent ties give them a discernible and gender-role-congruent explanation for connecting otherwise disconnected units and benefiting from network brokerage. Our results illuminate important mechanisms by which social network dynamics and mobility affect gender inequality and performance in organizations.