Special Interest Group on Work-Life Research & Practice from a LGBTQ Perspective

SIG: Work-Life Research & Practice from a LGBTQ Perspective 

Overall Mission

The aim of this Special Interest Group (SIG) is to bring together researchers and practitioners with interests and expertise on work-life from a LGBTQ perspective to sustainably impact the work-life experiences of LGBTQ people in the workplace and in our modern societies. The ultimate mission of the group is to develop a research agenda and research community on work-life research & practice from a LGBTQ perspective.

Objectives of the SIG: Work-Life Research & Practice from a LGBTQ Perspective 

  • To share information, research findings, and experiences on emerging work-life issues related to LGBTQ
  • To encourage constructive debate and critical evaluation of different theoretical approaches to work-life issues from a LGBTQ perspective
  • To create awareness for practitioners and decision-makers about work-life situations from a LGBTQ point of view, so they actively listen to research informed data
  • To discuss challenges in research philosophy, designs, methods, and techniques in the context of LGBTQ research projects to encourage rigorous and innovative research
  • To identify mutual research interests leading to common research projects and research application on work-life from a LGBTQ perspective

Background & Rational for the New SIG

Since 1979, the right to same-sex unions has been evolving from the three first “unregistered cohabitations” in The Netherlands (1979), Denmark (1986) and Sweden (1987) to the three first “registered partnerships” in Denmark (1989), Norway (1993) and Sweden (1994). By 2000, 10 countries had formally adopted several forms of “partnership agreements” and 3 countries (Slovakia, Andorra, Czech Republic) attempted but failed to pass such partnership. In 2000, a shift occurred when The Netherlands was the first country to legalize same sex marriage. Eighteen years later, 25 countries now legally recognize same-sex marriage and 17 countries have developed a legal alternative for same same-sex unions. Two countries will join the group of same-sex marriage in 2019, namely Austria and Taiwan. Finally, 9 other countries currently have pending text for same-sex marriage or same-sex unions.

This change comes after several years of intense political, cultural, societal and economical debates in these countries. However, this change represents the growing awareness that people who identify as LGBTQ make up a significant portion of the population in modern contemporary societies and that their roles in society must be recognized and valued as the role of any other human being. But what about such recognition and valuation in organisations when it comes to work-life balance? One may argue work-life programs have growing concern with widening the access to work-life arrangements to non-traditional family by considering couples without children or singles. Nonetheless, this inclusivity remains a fairly narrowly defined heteronormative view of the society and especially of the family unit. This contrasts with emerging research evidence indicating effects on organisational performance of having LGBT-friendly policies (see Pichler, Blazovich, Cook, Huston, & Strawser, 2015)[1].

Recognizing the richness of the current knowledge of the work-life research, it is legitimate to discuss and problematise its relevancy for LGBTQ population so that work/non-work experiences can be understood and theorised from a LGBTQ perspective (Languilaire & Carey, 2017)[2]. However, it is striking that there is lack of empirical research and theorisation on people who identify as LGBTQ. Only a few papers in the Community, Work and Family conferences as well as in Work and Family Researchers Network conferences have been presenting data or theory from a LGBTQ perspective. Few published papers are intentionally looking at LGBTQ population in journals touching upon work-life issues. Alternative and non-normative perspectives of work-life, and especially those pertaining to LGBTQ identities, remain relatively under researched and unpublished.

Let’s together change that and develop a real LGBTQ work-life research & practice community by creating a new Special Interest Group through WFRN called: Work-life Research & Practice from a LGBTQ perspective.

Group Meetings & Communication 

The group physically meets at the biennial Work and Family Researchers Network Conference and at the biennial Community, Work and Family Conferences. The group also meets virtually when needed using Zoom.

The group uses several ways to communicate via social media, join and follow us!

  • A hashtag to use in Twitter: #LGBTQworklife. We encourage everyone to tag all that is relevant for work-life experiences and LGBTQ.

Contact

The SIG is coordinated by Jean-Charles E. Languilaire and Jennifer Swanberg. If you are interested in joining the SIG Work-Life Research & Practice from a LGBTQ Perspective, contact Jean-Charles (jean-charles.languilaire@mau.se or @languilaire). You may also ask for access to the Facebook page/group.


[1] Pichler, S., Blazovich, J., Cook, K., Huston, J., & Strawser, W. (2015). Do LGBT-supportive Corporate Policies Enhance Firm Performance? Academy of Management Proceedings. doi:10.5465/AMBPP.2015.15078

[2] Languilaire, J-C. E., & Carey. N. (2017). LGBT voices in work-life: a call for research and a research community. Community, Work & Family, 20:1, 99-111, doi:10.1080/13668803.2016.1273198