Advertisement

Gender and Sexual Minority Faculty Negotiating “A Way of Life”: Friendships and Support Within the Academy

  • Sean RobinsonEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Queer Studies and Education book series (QSTED)

Abstract

Workplace friendships, and the various networks that develop out of those relationships, are a key factor in the career and identity development for gender and sexual minority (GSM) faculty and in essence help us to create and navigate a way of life in the academy. Previous research has underscored the important role of friendships in the lives of gay men and lesbians as a source of support, intimacy, and acceptance for developing and sustaining meaningful identities and selves often at odds with cultural norms that privilege heterosexuality (Nardi in Gay men’s friendships: Invincible communities. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1999; Weeks et al. in Same-sex intimacies: Families of choice and other life experiments. Routledge, London, 2001; Weinstock in Lesbian, gay, and bisexual identities in families. Oxford University Press, New York, pp. 122–154, 1998). While a few studies have examined how gay men and lesbians can struggle to negotiate identities within an organization (Lee et al. in Public Administration 86(1):149–167, 2008; Ozga and Walker in Transforming managers: Gendering change in the public sector. UCL Press, London, pp. 107–119, 1999), little has been done to explore the role that friendships and relationships, either at a network or dyadic level, enable the career and identity development of gender and sexual minority university faculty. Indeed, an exploration of this issue in contemporary organizational life is relevant given that heteronormativity is manifest in many organizational settings as the source of everyday oppression experienced by gender and sexual minorities in the workplace (Lewis in Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal 4(3):208–230, 2009; Skidmore in Gender, Work & Organization 11(3):229–253, 2004; Ward and Winstanley in Human Relations 56(10):1255–1280, 2003). Based on narrative interviews with 70 GSM faculty across the USA, this chapter explores workplace relationships and friendships of GSM faculty within university contexts as a way to add to our understanding about how, indeed, can we as GSM faculty create and sustain the multiplicity of relationships that ultimately support us and allow us to create a particular way of life for ourselves.

Keywords

Workplace friendships LGBTQ Faculty University 

References

  1. Adams, R. G., & Allan, G. (1998). Placing friendship in context. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Allan, G. (1989). Friendship: Developing a sociological perspective. Boulder: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  3. Bilimoria, D., & Stewart, A. J. (2009). Don’t ask, don’t tell: The academic climate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender faculty in science and engineering. National Women’s Studies Association Journal, 21(2), 85–103.Google Scholar
  4. Burnett, L. (2010). Young lesbians explore careers and work landscapes in an Australian culture. Journal of Lesbian Studies, 14(1), 36–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Butler, J. (1990). Gender trouble. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  6. Chronicle of Higher Education. (2016). Gender, race, and ethnicity of college administrators, faculty, and staff, fall 2013. Chronicle of Higher Education Almanac, 2016–17, LXII(43), 16.Google Scholar
  7. Coldron, J., & Smith, R. (1999). Active location in teachers’ construction of their professional identities. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 31(6), 711–726.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dreher, J. (2009). Phenomenology of friendship: Construction and constitution of an existential social relationship. Human Studies, 32(4), 401–417.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Elsesser, K., & Peplau, L. A. (2006). The glass partition: Obstacles to cross-sex friendships at work. Human Relations, 59(8), 1077–1100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Feeley, T. H., Hwang, J., & Barnett, G. A. (2008). Predicting employee turnover from friendship networks. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 36(1), 56–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Foucault, M. (1979). The history of sexuality, vol. I: An introduction. London: Allen Lane.Google Scholar
  12. Foucault, M. (1997). Friendship as a way of life. In P. Rabinow (Ed.), Ethics: Subjectivity and truth (pp. 135–140). New York: The New Press.Google Scholar
  13. Fukuyama, M. A., & Ferguson, A. D. (2000). Lesbian, gay, and bisexual people of color: Understanding cultural complexity and managing multiple oppressions. In K. J. Bieschke, R. M. Perez, & K. A. DeBord (Eds.), Handbook of counseling and psychotherapy with lesbian, gay, and bisexual clients (pp. 81–106). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gee, J. P. (2001). Identity as an analytic lens for research in education. Review of Research in Education, 25(1), 99–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Heinrich, L. M., & Gullone, E. (2006). The clinical significance of loneliness: A literature review. Clinical Psychology Review, 26(6), 695–718.Google Scholar
  16. Hultin, M., & Szulkin, R. (2003). Mechanisms of inequality: Unequal access to organizational power and the gender wage gap. European Sociological Review, 19(2), 143–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ibarra, H. (1993). Personal networks of women and minorities in management: A conceptual framework. Academy of Management Review, 18(1), 56–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kakabadse, A., & Kakabadse, N. (2004). Intimacy: An international survey of the sex lives of people at work. London: Palgrave.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kanter, R. M. (1977). Men and women of the corporation. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  20. Kram, K. E., & Isabella, L. A. (1985). Mentoring alternatives: The role of peer relationships in career development. Academy of Management Journal, 28(1), 110–132.Google Scholar
  21. Lee, H., Learmonth, M., & Harding, N. (2008). Queer(y)ing public administration. Public Administration, 86(1), 149–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lewis, A. P. (2009). Discourses of change: Policing, sexuality, and organizational culture. Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal, 4(3), 208–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lincoln, J. R., & Miller, J. (1979). Work and friendship ties in organizations: A comparative analysis of relational networks. Administrative Science Quarterly, 24(1), 181–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Luehmann, A. L. (2007). Identity development as a lens to science teacher preparation. Science Education, 91(5), 822–839.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. McGuire, G. M. (2007). Intimate work: A typology of the social support that workers provide to their network members. Work and Occupations, 34(2), 125–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Nardi, P. M. (1999). Gay men’s friendships: Invincible communities. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  27. Ozga, J., & Walker, J. (1999). In the company of men. In S. Whitehead & R. Moodley (Eds.), Transforming managers: Gendering change in the public sector (pp. 107–119). London: UCL Press.Google Scholar
  28. Pahl, R. (2006). On friendship. Malden: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  29. Parris, M. A., Vickers, M. H., & Wilkes, L. (2008). Friendships under strain: The work-personal life integration of middle managers. Community, Work & Family, 11(4), 405–418.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Peplau, L. A., & Fingerhut, A. W. (2007). The close relationships of lesbians and gay men. Annual Review of Psychology, 58, 405–424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Poulin, F., & Chan, A. (2010). Friendship stability and change in childhood and adolescence. Developmental Review, 30, 257–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Richardson, D. (2005). Desiring sameness? The rise of a neoliberal politics of normalization. Antipode, 37(3), 515–535.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Robinson, C. S. (2016). Campus climate issues for gender & sexual minority faculty: Making the private public. In Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education Annual Conference. New York, NY.Google Scholar
  34. Robinson, C. S. (2018). Hidden in plain sight: Early career experiences of a non-binary faculty member. Women & Language, 41(1), 110–127.Google Scholar
  35. Rose, S. (2000). Heterosexism and the study of women’s romantic and friend relationships. Journal of Social Issues, 56, 315–328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Roseneil, S., & Budgeon, S. (2004). Cultures of intimacy and care beyond “the family”: Personal life and social change in the early 21st century. Current Sociology, 52(2), 135–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Rumens, N. (2010a). Firm friends: Exploring the supportive components in gay men’s workplace friendships. The Sociological Review, 58(1), 135–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Rumens, N. (2010b). Workplace friendships between men: Gay men’s perspectives and experiences. Human Relations, 63(10), 1541–1562.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Sears, J. T. (2002). The institutional climate for lesbian, gay and bisexual education faculty: What is the pivotal frame of reference? Journal of Homosexuality, 42(1), 11–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Seidman, S. (2002). Beyond the closet: The transformation of gay and lesbian life. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  41. Sias, P. M. (2005). Workplace relationship quality and employee information experiences. Communication Studies, 56(4), 171–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Sias, P. M. (2008). Organizing relationships: Traditional and emerging perspectives on workplace relationships. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  43. Sias, P. M., & Bartoo, H. (2007). Friendship, social support and health. In L. L’Abate, D. D. Embrey, & M. S. Baggett (Eds.), Low cost approaches to promote physical and mental health: Theory, research and practice (pp. 455–472). New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Sias, P. M., & Cahill, D. J. (1998). From coworkers to friends: The development of peer friendships in the workplace. Western Journal of Communication, 6(2), 273–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Sias, P. M., Smith, G., & Avdeyeva, T. (2003). Sex and sex-composition differences and similarities in peer workplace friendship development. Communication Studies, 54(3), 322–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Skidmore, P. (2004). A legal perspective on sexuality and organization: A lesbian and gay case study. Gender, Work & Organization, 11(3), 229–253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Song, S. H. (2006). Workplace friendship and employee’s productivity: LMX theory and the case of the Seoul city government. International Review of Public Administration, 11(1), 47–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Trau, R. N. C., & Hartel, C. E. J. (2004). One career, two identities: An assessment of gay men’s career trajectory. Career Development International, 9(7), 627–637.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Ward, J., & Winstanley, D. (2003). The absent presence: Negative space within discourse and the construction of minority sexual identity in the workplace. Human Relations, 56(10), 1255–1280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Weeks, J., Heaphy, B., & Donovan, C. (2001). Same-sex intimacies: Families of choice and other life experiments. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  51. Weinstock, J. S. (1998). Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender friendships in adulthood. In C. J. Patterson & A. R. D’Augelli (Eds.), Lesbian, gay, and bisexual identities in families (pp. 122–154). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  52. Winstead, B. A., Derlega, V. J., Montgomery, M. J., & Pilkington, C. (1995). The quality of friendship at work and job satisfaction. The Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 12(2), 199–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Morgan State UniversityBaltimoreUSA

Personalised recommendations