The Sound of Silence. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Discrimination in ‘Inclusive Organizations’

Priola, Vincenza; Lasio, Diego; De Simone, Silvia and Serri, Francesco (2014). The Sound of Silence. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Discrimination in ‘Inclusive Organizations’. British Journal of Management, 25(3) pp. 488–502.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8551.12043

Abstract

Most studies on diversity and discrimination in the workplace have focused on ‘visible’ minorities such as gender or race, often neglecting the experiences of invisible minorities such as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) workers. In this paper we explore the practices of inclusion/exclusion of LGBTs in the workplace in Italian social cooperatives, which are specifically founded to create employment for people who are disadvantaged in the labour market. The study examines how organizations, which have an ethos focused on inclusion and mainly employ workers from specific social minority groups, manage the inclusion of LGBT workers. We also explore the experience of LGBT workers within these organizations. The paper reports that the culture of silence existing in the five organizations studied prevents LGBT employees from constructing a work identity which encompasses their sexual identity and prevents the organizations from achieving their aim of being fully inclusive workplaces.

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