Exploring the Advancement and Authority Experiences of Lesbian and Gay Corporate Leaders
Research has shown lesbian and gay (LG) corporate leaders are likely to experience issues in advancement and authority in the workplace. However, little is known about how LG leaders experience these issues, and how their experiences influence their careers and organizations. This qualitative multiple-case study explored the advancement and authority experiences of 12 gay male corporate leaders using a constructivist paradigm. The theoretical foundation used Tajfel and Turner's social identity theory and Fassinger, Shullman, and Stevenson's affirmative lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender leadership model. The conceptual framework included stereotypes, discrimination, sexual identity disclosure, corporate culture, and sociopolitical culture. Research questions included how LG corporate leaders experienced advancement and authority and how their experiences influenced their careers. A qualitative research design and a holistic multiple-case study approach were employed. Data analysis included descriptive, in vivo, and concept coding. Codes were grouped into categories and categories into overarching themes. Findings indicated gay corporate leaders experienced challenges, although they can be overcome through ability, dedication, and informed decisions. Additional research should be conducted in lesbian, bisexual, and transgender populations and in younger populations. Creating a positive corporate culture where everyone has a voice, acceptance is communicated, and different viewpoints are appreciated is critical for LG employee achievement, and both LG individuals and organizations are likely to benefit through improved employee commitment and corporate productivity.