A recent study published in the Sage Journal on Human Relations asserts that women are less effective at networking for two reasons. Women struggle with the idea of exploiting social ties and they undersell their own value when engaged in networking activities.

Researchers interviewed 37 high-profile women leaders in Germany and found that they view creating new relationships differently than men. The study indicates that men are comfortable with the “what’s in it for me” approach. Men see no problem with a one-sided dynamic, while women seek honesty, transparency and, most importantly, collaboration.

Women are also weary of receiving personal gain from valued connections. The utilitarian nature of networking runs counter to most women’s expectation of reciprocity and mutual benefit. The research suggests women tend to focus more on building a personal, mutually beneficial relationship rather than one that solely benefits them.