Sexual Orientation Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace: A Qualitative Study of LGB Inclusion in a UK Public Sector Organisation

Ashley Williams*, Neill Thompson, Binna Kandola

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Inclusion has been identified as a key component of successful approaches to organisational diversity management. To date, the inclusion literature has predominantly used quantitative methodology to study visible forms of diversity such as gender and ethnicity. Invisible forms of diversity, such as sexual orientation diversity, have received limited research attention, despite Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual (LGB) employees facing significantly higher rates of bullying and discrimination in the workplace than their heterosexual colleagues. The current study uses semi-structured interviews and template analysis to investigate LGB employees’ experiences of workplace inclusion within a UK public sector organisation. Findings demonstrate that LGBs share many experiences of exclusion with other minority groups; however, they are not often regarded as exclusionary or the result of one’s sexual orientation. Such experiences appear to be either overlooked due to membership of other minority groups which hold greater significance, or downplayed due to membership of other majority groups. The main implication of this finding is that quantitative measures of inclusion may not reveal the severity of exclusion in organisations. It is therefore recommended that future research investigating employees’ perceptions of inclusion should consider the validity of findings in relation to inclusion based on invisible characteristics. Finally, the findings detailed in this report lend support for the use of an intersectional research approach, which considers the way in which minority statuses are interconnected and cannot be examined in isolation when investigating individuals’ experiences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1068-1087
Number of pages22
JournalThe Qualitative Report
Volume27
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Apr 2022

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