Leaders' concealable stigmatized identities: employee attitueds following workplace disclosure

Hancock, Amanda Jane (2022) Leaders' concealable stigmatized identities: employee attitueds following workplace disclosure. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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The intersection of organizational leadership and concealable stigmatized identities has not received adequate scholarly attention. In practice, leaders seem to disclose minority identities at a rate that exceeds research and theory. Idealist and conceptual perspectives have suggested such disclosures will be met with positive outcomes, but emerging empirical investigations of the phenomena suggest this is not always the case. Three studies were conducted to investigate the consequences of disclosing a leader’s concealable stigmatized identity from the employee’s perspective. Study 1 is a mixed methods, time-lagged survey of full-time employees (N = 326). Thematic analysis of 53 participants’ interpretations of the downward disclosure experience reveals important contextual similarities and differences with same status disclosures. Employees interpreted the discloser’s motivation as largely approach-focused (relationship development, establishing trust, self-verification, reactance), with some evidence of negative attributions of the discloser’s motivation (gossip, disgust). Testing a parallel mediation model illustrates that mental illness disclosures negatively predict employee perceptions of leader intelligence and positively predict employee perceptions of leader vulnerability. Study 2 presents the results of two experimental vignette studies (N = 478) of employed adults which investigate the role of disclosure content, leader gender, and discloser identity on perceived leadership effectiveness. Leaders who disclose a minority sexual orientation are rated significantly higher on perceived leadership effectiveness than those who disclose substance abuse disorder. Study 3 utilizes multimedia to create another experimental vignette to test a conditional process model on a sample of employed adults (N = 487). The conditional effects of disclosure appropriateness on follower ratings of leadership effectiveness and leader liking through followers’ perceptions of affective trust in leader and perceptions of leader vulnerability were examined using moderated-mediation and Hayes’ (2018) PROCESS macro. Leaders’ concealable stigmatized identity disclosures did not make a difference to how much employees liked their manager/supervisor, but leader disclosures of substance abuse disclosure directly were detrimental for employee ratings of leadership effectiveness - especially when the disclosure was perceived as inappropriate. When perceived as appropriate, leader disclosures of mental disorder/disease and minority sexual orientation produced positive effects on leader evaluations through affective trust in their leader. A model of stigma content hierarchy is proposed to predict outcomes of leader disclosures from the employee perspective in organizational settings. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/15694
Item ID: 15694
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 181-207)
Keywords: leadership, stigma, organizations, employees, quantitative
Department(s): Business Administration, Faculty of
Date: May 2022
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.48336/fwgy-6641
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Organizational behavior; Leadership--Psychological aspects; Stigma (Social psychology); Identity (Psychology); Work environment; Employees--Attitudes; Employee attitude surveys

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