Frequently asked questions
Provided an answer to frequently asked questions by (prospective) CYGNA members
Table of contents
- Why are you called CYGNA?
- How are you different from other women's networks?
- Can I join the network?
- What is the CYGNA ethos?
- Can anyone send material to the mailing list?
Our name and logo were chosen through a collaborative process involving all members, who now call themselves swans. The name CYGNA appealed to members for its Greek origins and its slight mysteriousness. The connotations and imagery elicited by the word swan were also seen as clear positives:
- the traditional symbol of beauty and grace in ancient Greece, which, combined with the Greek name, provides us with strong academic roots
- serene and calm on the outside, but madly paddling under the water, just like most academics these days
- peaceful, faithful, and almost entirely herbivorous, but assertive when defending things that matter, such as gender equality and our research
- at home in diverse environments (water, earth, air), reflecting the national and cultural diversity of our network, which counts more than 30 nationalities
Our network differs from other academic women’s networks in at least five ways:
Single discipline across universities
Many other women’s networks are single-university networks and cover all disciplines from Archaeology to Zoology. Although this might build institutional coherence, single-discipline networks across universities like CYGNA offer different institutional perspectives, provide better opportunities for research collaborations, and present the opportunity to discuss sensitive issues with those outside one’s immediate circle of colleagues.
Close bonds for trustful relationships
Likewise, countrywide networks such as WHEN [Women in Higher Education Network] have an important role to play. However, the sheer size of this type of networks makes forming the close bonds that are needed for women to thrive in academia difficult. At CYGNA new members are only added to the mailing list if they are known to at least one active current member and they need to complete a membership survey. New members are also explicitly introduced and made to feel welcome at their first meeting.
Regular 2-3 hour events
Most university and countrywide networks only organize only a few events a year, often fairly short in duration. On average, CYGNA has met for half-day events five times a year since its inception. Since May 2020 we have had regular virtual meetings to accommodate our international members. With 53 meetings organized to date (July 2023) this means lots of opportunities for academic women to meet and a solid stock of accumulated resources on our website here.
Open to international members
CYGNA is open to international members. In fact, nearly one half of our active members do not live in the UK. This provides members with the opportunity to network outside their own country. Its London location means that we also regularly host international CYGNA members at our physical meetings. To date, we have had visitors from Australia, Austria, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Japan, the Netherlands, and the USA. Given that, by coincidence rather than by design, 95% of our UK CYGNA members originate from outside the UK, this makes for a very international network.
Accessible for all without financial barriers
CYGNA is resolutely FREE for its members. Our speakers are usually CYGNA members who offer their time for free, whereas for physical meetings the host university sponsors our catering. We do not charge for membership or for attending our meetings. This ensures our network is open for academics at any stage of career and to those who work at less well-resourced institutions.
At CYGNA we prefer cohesion and mutual support over a big, but inevitably impersonal network. Hence, CYGNA typically grows through personal connections with members recommending others to join. However, we are not an "exclusive" club.
If you are a female academic who - after reading the CYGNA pages - thinks you would be able to benefit from and contribute to the network, you would be very welcome to contact Anne-Wil Harzing (email@example.com). Members from any country or discipline are welcome, but note that we have a focus on Business & Management and the wider Social Sciences.
CYGNA is a friendly, kind, inclusive, and supportive community, providing a safe space / place to exchange ideas, share experiences, provide advice, inspire, and learn. To maintain our ethos, our members are expected to follow the following principles:
- Respect and nurture CYGNA's ethos by modeling the above behaviour, both within and outside meetings.
- Ensure meeting invites stay within the network only; an exception can be made for female colleagues of the local host.
- Keep discussions in CYGNA sessions and on the mailing list fully confidential.
Yes, everyone can send material to the CYGNA mailing list, just use the email address provided with your JICS confirmation email.
How to respond to list emails?
When responding to an email on the mailing list, consider whether your response needs to go to the entire mailing list. By default, your response goes to the sender only, but if you click "reply-all" it will go back to the mailing list too. That's perfectly fine if your response is a substantive contribution. But if you are just thanking the sender, it can easily overwhelm other members' mailboxes.
How to share?
Please choose a descriptive subject line, preferably starting with CYGNA, so that members can decide whether the topic is relevant to them before reading the entire email. Sharing something by responding to someone else's email (without changing the subject line) might lead to members missing your contribution.
What to share?
We suggest you apply the rule of thumb that your email should be potentially relevant to at least a third of the (currently 350+) CYGNA members. A non-exhaustive list of material that might qualify includes:
- Anything on gender in academia and/or EDI in academia, including your own articles and events on this topic.
- Likewise for migration as 90+% of us are migrants.
- Special issues in EDI/HR/OB/IB/Management/Marketing.
- Resources on academic careers and skills development that come with your personal recommendation. This one requires some thought as some resources may only be relevant for 5-10% of CYGNA members.
What if you are not sure?
Feel free to contact any of the CYGNA Lead team to ask for advice.
Yes, anyone can organise a conference meet-up, and in fact, we encourage Swans to consider meeting up with other Swans at conferences they attend. You can find some write-ups here: Conference meet-ups.
How can you organise a meet-up?
We have prepared a cheat-sheet to help Swans organise this, so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. We suggest you start by sending out an email to the list, to collect the names and contacts of those attending the same conference and who are interested to meet up. And the checklist in the cheat-sheet should help you think about all the rest. Just reach out to the Lead Team and we will help you get started.
Why organise a meet-up?
There are many reasons why we encourage Swans to meet up at conferences, from the simplest which is to meet up with new and old friends (making conferences more fun), to more professional ones of supporting one another in developing and sustaining our professional networks.
Conferences can be quite daunting for those of us who are more introvert or those who are attending a conference for the first time. But even for those of us who are more senior, with a consolidated network of academic connections, it can be unnerving to face a full room of people alone. Knowing that there are friendly faces waiting for you at the cocktail or gala dinner, or that at any point during the conference other Swans are at your fingertips through a WhatsApp group, can feel like a helpful safety net for any of us.
Can I organise a meet-up at any conference or does this only apply to IB or OB/HR conferences?
A meet-up can make sense as soon as there are two Swans or more.
As mentioned above, most of CYGNA’s members have a focus on Business & Management and the wider Social Sciences. The larger clusters of members include Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), International Business (IB), Human Resource Management (HRM), Organisational Behaviour (OB), Management and Marketing.
As such, in the past, CYGNA meet-ups have been organised at the Academy of Management (AOM), the Academy of International Business (AIB) and European International Business Academy (EIBA).
But again, any Swan can suggest a meet-up at any conference they attend.
Copyright © 2023 Anne-Wil Harzing. All rights reserved. Page last modified on Fri 24 Nov 2023 18:02
Anne-Wil Harzing is Professor of International Management at Middlesex University, London and visiting professor of International Management at Tilburg University. She is a Fellow of the Academy of International Business, a select group of distinguished AIB members who are recognized for their outstanding contributions to the scholarly development of the field of international business. In addition to her academic duties, she also maintains the Journal Quality List and is the driving force behind the popular Publish or Perish software program.