The Importance of Being “Me”: The Relation Between Authentic IdentityExpression and Transgender Employees’ Work-RelatedAttitudes and Experiences

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Journal of Applied Psychology

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The present research examined the relation between authentic identity expression and transgender employees’ work-related attitudes and experiences. Drawing on Kernis’ (2003) theoretical conceptualization of authenticity and expanding on current workplace identity management research, we predicted that employees who had taken steps to reduce the discrepancy between their inner gender identities and their outward manifestations of gender would report more positive job attitudes and workplace experiences, in part because the reduction of this discrepancy is related to greater feelings of authenticity. In Study 1, we found that the extent to which one has transitioned was related to higher job satisfaction and perceived person-organization (P-O) fit and lower perceived discrimination. In Study 2, we replicate and extend these results by showing that the extent to which employees felt that others at work perceived them in a manner consistent with how they perceived themselves (relational authenticity) mediated the relations between extent of transition and all 3 of these outcomes. However, perceptions of alignment between one’s felt and expressed identity (action authenticity) only mediated this link for job satisfaction. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of our results, as well as avenues for future research on authenticity in the workplace.



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