Professional networks, science ability, and gender determinants of three types of leadership in academic science and engineering

Marla Parker, Eric W. Welch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


This paper examines the factors associated with holding leadership positions among men and women academic scientists. We develop hypotheses for three determinants of leadership: professional networks, science ability, and gender. We test the resulting model on the likelihood of holding three different types of academic science leadership-research center leadership, university administrative leadership, and discipline leadership. Findings show that while science productivity and reputation are strongly associated with having either a center or discipline leadership position, they are less strongly associated with administrative leadership. Also, larger and more dense collaboration networks predict having a center leadership position, but the opposite is true for holding an administrative leadership position. Women are more likely to be in discipline leadership positions and less likely to be a leader of a research center or have an administrative university leadership position. Finally, having more women in the network reduces the likelihood of holding discipline or center leadership positions. Interpretations of findings and conclusions explore the potential implications for theory, practice and policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)332-348
Number of pages17
JournalLeadership Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Academic science
  • Gender and social networks
  • Leadership
  • Productivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


Dive into the research topics of 'Professional networks, science ability, and gender determinants of three types of leadership in academic science and engineering'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this