'Trans-parency' in the workplace

Nov 17, 2011

Transsexual individuals who identify themselves as such in the workplace are more likely to have greater satisfaction and commitment to their job than transsexuals who do not, according to a new study from Rice University and Pennsylvania State University.

"Trans-parency in the Workplace: How the Experiences of Transsexual Employees Can Be Improved" will appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Vocational Behavior. For the study, researchers surveyed 88 transsexuals across the nation about their workplace experiences to determine what factors impact their and .

"The workplace is becoming a much more diverse place," said Michelle Hebl, study co-author and professor of psychology at Rice. "The demographic makeup of employees is shifting due to a host of factors, such as flexible work hours, increased telecommuting, greater accessibility and protective organizational policies. Almost no empirical research has been done on transsexuals' experiences whatsoever. Our research sheds light on this severely understudied population's common workplace experiences and how such experiences can be improved."

The study's main finding revealed that transsexuals who are open with others about their gender identity in the workplace are happier and more productive workers than those who are not open. In addition, individuals who were more open with their family and friends about their lifestyle and who identified strongly as transsexuals were more likely to disclose their gender identity in the workplace than transsexuals who were less open and did not identify as as strongly.

Co-author and Rice graduate student Larry Martinez said the study demonstrates the importance of a strong support system, both in and out of the workplace.

"It's important for individuals to have a consistent identity in the workplace and at home," Martinez said. "Having a strong support system at home can give transsexual employees the courage to disclose to their colleagues in the workplace."

The study also shows that those who disclose their transsexuality are more satisfied with and committed to their organization, so long as their work environments are supportive. However, transsexual employees have lower rates of job satisfaction and commitment when their co-workers react negatively to their .

According to Rice graduate student and co-author Enrica Ruggs, the study demonstrates how essential co-workers and organizations are in fostering a positive work environment.

"Often, what's good for the worker is good for the workplace – in this case, an open and accepting culture is really a win-win situation for all involved," she said. "The employees feel accepted, are more productive and have better experiences with co-workers. This creates a positive working environment that may lead to decreased turnover and greater profits."

Ruggs added that this research generalizes to other groups of individuals who face workplace discrimination and face the decision as to whether they should disclose concealable stigmas such as their sexual orientation, chronic illness or learning disability.

The authors hope their research will encourage the general public to be accepting of and allies to people with different lifestyle choices than their own and encourage employers to implement policies that foster a positive organizational culture.

"I think this study really demonstrates that everyone can have a role in making the more inclusive," Hebl said. "Individuals can tell supportive others, others can be allies and react positively, and organizations can institute protective and inclusive organizational policies. All of these measures will continue to change the landscape and diversity of our workforce."

Explore further: Why aren't consumers buying remanufactured products?

More information: "Trans-parency in the Workplace: How the Experiences of Transsexual Employees Can Be Improved": www.sciencedirect.com/science/… ii/S000187911100042X

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Get some balance - make flexible work policies work

Jan 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Most organisations' flexible work policies sit idly in policy documents, employees too uncomfortable to implement them because they might be frowned upon by employers or co-workers for deviating from the ...

Taking steps to prevent 'going postal'

Oct 13, 2011

Workplace violence continues to be a topic of great importance to many companies, as tales of extreme cases hit the media. Today's human resources departments spend a great deal of time preparing for these cases. However, ...

Freedom's just another word for employee satisfaction

Jan 24, 2011

Workers who feel they have autonomy – that they are free to make choices in the workplace and be accountable for them – are happier and more productive according to an extensive research literature review. Yet there's ...

Recommended for you

Local education politics 'far from dead'

6 hours ago

Teach for America, known for recruiting teachers, is also setting its sights on capturing school board seats across the nation. Surprisingly, however, political candidates from the program aren't just pushing ...

First grade reading suffers in segregated schools

7 hours ago

A groundbreaking study from the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG) has found that African-American students in first grade experience smaller gains in reading when they attend segregated schools—but the ...

Why aren't consumers buying remanufactured products?

9 hours ago

Firms looking to increase market share of remanufactured consumer products will have to overcome a big barrier to do so, according to a recent study from the Penn State Smeal College of Business. Findings from faculty members ...

Expecting to teach enhances learning, recall

9 hours ago

People learn better and recall more when given the impression that they will soon have to teach newly acquired material to someone else, suggests new research from Washington University in St. Louis.

Understanding the economics of human trafficking

Jul 28, 2014

Although Europe is one of the strictest regions in the world when it comes to guaranteeing the respect of human rights, the number of people trafficked to or within the EU still amounts to several hundred ...

User comments : 0