Cultivating Inclusion: Navigating Diversity Through Expressing and Concealing Social Identity Differences in Interpersonal Interactions
Arnett, Rachel D.
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AbstractAs diversity becomes more common in the workplace, it is critical to understand how employees can navigate their differences and foster inclusion. My two dissertation chapters experimentally investigate how employees can cultivate inclusion through the ways that they express and conceal social identity differences during interpersonal interactions. My first chapter challenges a common assumption that minorities (e.g., Blacks, Latinos) expressing cultural-identity differences is problematic in the workplace. I demonstrate that while minorities fear cultural-identity expression in the abstract, imagining concrete instances of cultural-identity expression alleviates these fears and even leads them to expect positive outcomes from such expression. Although past research suggests that majorities (e.g., Whites) also fear cultural-identity expression by minorities, I demonstrate that when a minority expresses his or her cultural identity in a rich and meaningful way, majorities behave more inclusively toward the minority. My second chapter highlights people’s tendency to cultivate social harmony and inclusion in a previously unstudied way: by concealing relatively high status identities. I demonstrate that individuals are likely to conceal an identity – such as being college-educated – when the identity conveys higher status compared to a peer, as concealing protects the self and the peer from a multitude of interpersonal threats. I find evidence that high status identity concealment can persist in highly competitive work settings, suggesting that people from relatively privileged groups see value in cultivating workplace inclusion.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:40050076
- FAS Theses and Dissertations