*Names in bold indicate Presenter
Several areas are addressed by this research. First, by understanding how women and minority STEM faculty feel about their relevance in their organizations, human resource management and policy can improve recruitment and retention strategies targeting historically marginalized groups (Chubin et al., 2005; Packard, 2011; National Academy of Sciences, 2007). Second, knowledge of the extent to which women and minority faculty feel included in organizational decision-making can inform policies that actively promote equity in how diverse interests and needs are addressed (Aguirre et al, 1993; Aguirre, 2000; Turner et al., 1997; Blackwell 1988; Menges & Exum 1983; Turner et al. 1997). Lastly, more can be understood about how social network dynamics uniquely contribute to important workplace outcomes of STEM faculty, as well as how these dynamics may contribute differently to the outcomes of specific groups of STEM faculty (Melkers & Kiopa, 2009; Feeney & Bernal, 2010; Pinheiro & Melkers, 2009).
Data for the proposed research is from a project funded by the National Science Foundation that surveyed academic STEM faculty about their individual backgrounds, experiences, work environment, productivity and social networks. The dependent variable is faculty’s self-perceived influence in organizational decision-making related to their organizational environment and role in the organization. The independent variables include the race and gender status of faculty and various network factors such as structure (i.e. network constraint) and composition (i.e. heterogeneity, homophily, resources). The research model illustrates direct connections and various pathways between the independent and dependent variables. In particular, the model illustrates that gender, race, network factors independently and directly shape self-perceived influence. Also, the model shows that gender and race determine network constraint, which in turn determines the network resources that shape self-perceived influence. Overall, conclusions from this research will address the value of social networks in promoting inclusion and diversity among the academic STEM ranks. More specifically, conclusions will discuss policy and management related implications relevant for facilitating the creation of a substantially representative and active population of minority and women STEM faculty, which can significantly contribute to the development of talented, stable and diverse STEM human capital.