Work experiences and career development of trans and gender diverse individuals in relation to organisational structures and work culture

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

    Abstract

    This thesis explores work experiences and career development for trans and gender diverse individuals. It seeks to understand the relationship between organisational structures and workplace cultures as well as the specific experiences of trans and gender diverse individuals with the aim of understanding strategies to increase their successful participation in the workforce. Therefore, the three main research aims are: to explore work experiences and career development for trans and gender diverse individuals; identify specific enablers and barriers for trans and gender diverse people; and understand the awareness and inclusion of gender diversity within organisational structures and workplace culture.
    Adopting a critical theory framework, the thesis explores unequal power structures and critically engages with marginalised voices to aim for equity. Cisnormativity and gender binarism are two social norms that imbalance the power structure between various gender identities besides affecting organisational spaces including work structures and cultures. Due to limited organisational and management knowledge concerning the marginalised group, this thesis uncovers trans and gender diverse specific enablers and barriers, by engaging with trans and gender diverse individuals through semi-structured online interviews which allows the trans and gender diverse voices to influence the narrative within a critical grounded theory framework. The qualitative multi-method approach not only investigates the trans and gender diverse individual experience but also the organisational awareness about gender diversity represented by organisational and management personnel. Insights about organisational awareness of gender diversity and trans and gender diverse inclusion are captured with a photo-elicit open-ended questionnaire addressed to organisational and management personnel in the areas of human resources, diversity management, career development, and leadership.
    Interviews conducted with trans and gender diverse people revealed six themes regarding restrooms, workstations, dress codes, documentation and policies, leadership, as well as team environments as part of the organisational structure and work culture. The six themes identified both enablers and barriers for trans and gender diverse people and their experience of work and career, as well as relating to the material and embodied influence of critical performativity concerning organisational structures and cultures. The organisational awareness and inclusion of trans and gender diverse matters were explored with the help of these themes demonstrating the strong influence of the cisnormative gender binary on organisational structures and work culture including a limited understanding of specific trans and gender diverse experiences regarding work engagement and career development.
    Practical contributions emerging from the thesis are suggested inclusion strategies for the practice regarding gender diversity and trans and gender diverse matters such as the application of the queering approach, implementation of organisational flexibility, and increasing visibility of diversity. Meanwhile, the theoretical contribution aims for an improvement of critical management studies including diversity management to reflect materiality and embodiment in the theoretical analysis of critical performativity. To conclude, the materiality and embodiment of cisnormative gender binary throughout organisational structures and work culture have inclusive and exclusive effects on trans and gender diverse identities in the work and career context due to the relationship aspect of organisational awareness regarding gender diversity.
    Date of Award2023
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorMichael Walsh (Supervisor), Jennifer M.I. Loh (Supervisor) & Raechel Johns (Supervisor)

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