PROFESSIONAL IMAGE MAINTENANCE: HOW WOMEN NAVIGATE PREGNANCY IN THE WORKPLACE

TitlePROFESSIONAL IMAGE MAINTENANCE: HOW WOMEN NAVIGATE PREGNANCY IN THE WORKPLACE
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsLittle LM, Major VSmith, Hinojosa AS, Nelson DL
JournalAcademy of Management Journal
Volume58
Issue1
Pagination8-37
Date PublishedFeb
ISBN Number0001-4273
Accession NumberWOS:000349882200002
Abstract

Women now constitute a significant portion of the workforce, making the effects of pregnancy on professional image (others' perceptions of competence and character at work) more salient. While opinions regarding how pregnant women should manage others' impressions and the consequences of doing so abound (Noveck, 2012) research to substantiate or disconfirm these opinions has lagged. In this paper, we present three studies that develop and test a model of social identity-based impression management (SIM) techniques used by pregnant workers. In Study 1 (n = 35), we utilized qualitative methods to identify the motives and strategies used by pregnant women to manage their professional images. In the second study, we collected two samples (n = 199 and n = 133) to develop and validate two scales based on the motives and strategies identified in Study 1. In Study 3 (n = 200), we employed a time-lagged design to examine how SIM motives and strategies affect important workplace outcomes: perceived discrimination, burnout, and returning to one's job after maternity leave. Our findings demonstrate both positive and negative outcomes of the motives and strategies women use to manage their images at work when pregnant.

DOI10.5465/amj.2013.0599