7.3 The professional-private life distinction and its implications for employees’ well-being and cooperation with co-workers

Project info

Project consists of following studies
The aim of this project is twofold. Firstly, we aim to explore under which conditions, professional-private life distinction will lead to a sustainable cooperation. We will investigate why minority employees may have a harder time building and maintaining trusting relations/ mutual support with co-workers (those that provide social and advisory support). To this end, we will compare the professional-private life distinction among different groups of employees (minority vs. majority groups) and examine its implications for employees’ relations with co-workers and how this impacts on their sense of inclusion, work-related stress, organizational commitment and turn-over intentions. Secondly, we aim to demonstrate how to optimize organizational efforts towards improving the wellbeing and careers of minority employees and the fair and synergetic climate of the organizations. To this end, we examine the implications of the professional-private life distinction for the effectiveness of ERGs.
Project start
End date
Behavioral theory
  • Networks
  • Bisexual
  • Cooperation
  • Disclosure
  • Disclosure decisions
  • Employees
  • Ethics
  • Gay
  • Lesbian
  • Norm
  • Online experiment
  • Psychology
  • Vignettes
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Employers’ organizations
  • HR managers
  • Psychology
  • Social psychology
Work package
  • Work
Sustainability threat
  • External Shocks
  • Reshaping organizational forms
Theoretical background
The quality of one’s collaboration with co-workers (and thus team performance) is not just dependent on task-related factors (how good one is at their job) but also on relationshiporiented factors (how well one gets on with their colleagues; De Dreu & Weingart, 2003). By confiding in co-workers and sharing details of one’s personal life with them, employees contribute to building trust in one another, which results in better collaboration and teamwork (Offermann & Rosh, 2012). It also has an effect on the “goodwill factor”: people are willing to make just a little more effort for a colleague who is friendly than for one who never wants to have a chat. There are indications that members of marginalized groups have a harder time finding support and particularly task-related advice in organizations (Son & Lin, 2012)
Research design
This project will collect and analyze cross-sectional survey and experimental data from majority and minority employees in organizations to determine (a) whether the perceived public-private distinction is greater for employees with (compared to those without) a stigmatized social identity, (b) to examine the impact of perceiving stigmatized social identities as private on minority employees’ perceived ability and motivation to connect with co-workers for social and advisory support, and (c) to assess how this impacts on their sense of inclusion, work-related stress, organizational commitment and turn-over intentions (and thus, their potential for long-term sustainable cooperation in the organization). In doing so, we will focus on perceptions of and experiences among women, sexual minorities, and ethnic-religious minorities. To recruit participants, we will collaborate with the Workplace Pride Foundation, an international platform for LGBTI+ workplace inclusion with more than 70 multi(national) member organizations.
Related sources


Grant ID