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Hiding True Self At Work Hurts Bottom Line

HOUSTON (UPI) — Workers who discern it is unsafe to be themselves at work and need to hide their true identity have less job satisfaction and may quit, U.S. researchers say.

Study co-author Michelle Hebl, professor of psychology of Rice University, and colleagues at the University of Houston and George Mason University examined the behavior of 211 working adults in an online survey and measured factors such as identity, perceived discrimination, job satisfaction and turnover intentions.

“This research highlights the fact that people make decisions every day about whether it is safe to be themselves at work, and that there are real consequences of these decisions,” said Eden King, an associate professor of psychology at George Mason University said in a statement.

The study showed suppressing one’s true identity — race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation or a disability — might result in exposure to co-workers’ discriminatory behavior.

The research found expression of one’s true identity in a workplace can have positive impact on interpersonal relationships.

“Quite often, what’s good for the worker is good for the workplace,” said lead author Juan Madera of the University of Houston. “The employees feel accepted and have better experiences with co-workers, which creates a positive working environment that may lead to decreased turnover and greater profits.”

The paper appears in the Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology journal.



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