At the intersection of work and family how do we define our identities?

Jamie Ladge has spent her career studying how working professionals view their identities in the office and at home—and how these identities often intersect.

Now, in recently published research involving two separate projects, Ladge explores these dynamics in ways that shed new light on how different groups of working professionals view and manage their identities.

In past research, Ladge has explored why some new mothers opt-out of the workforce while others don’t. In another study, she found that the more time fathers spend with their children on a typical day, the greater job satisfaction and less conflict between work and family they experience. She has also examined the added layer of work-family conflict for employees with lesbian, gay, and bisexual families—research for which she was named a finalist for the 2018 Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award for Excellence in Work-Family Research.

Ladge is also working on a forthcoming research paper with Northeastern colleague Marla Baskerville Watkins, the highlights of which were recently published in Harvard Business Review. The research is based on individual interviews with 59 black female executives in senior-level positions in U.S. companies. Their findings ”indicate that one main driver of their success was their ability to navigate the challenge of intersectional invisibility”—in other words, being overlooked, disregarded, or forgotten because they are members of two underrepresented groups: women and minorities.

The researchers cited past studies suggesting women and minorities are often tested in leadership roles by being disproportionately given risky assignments—the so-called “glass cliff.” But one of their findings is that the women view these situations as strategic opportunities to improve their status and visibility in the workplace.

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