Management, HR and the Disclosure of Concealable Stigmas: How to create a supportive environment

New research in Cogent Psychology identifies trust as a major factor in the disclosure of concealable stigmas.

Concealable stigmas affect a large part of the population on a daily basis, whether they are part of a sexual minority, suffer from chronic illnesses, psychological disabilities, or are members of a minority religion. The decision to disclose a concealable stigma to an employer is a complex one. In a new paper, The Disclosure of Concealable Stigmas: Analysis Anchored in Trust, Ben Capell and Simon L. Dolan of ESADE-Ramon Llull University and Shay S. Tzafrir of the University of Haifa examine the role of trust in the decision to disclose.

The authors examine how to create a sense of safety for individuals facing this situation and conclude that trust, a critical condition for reducing any employee’s sense of vulnerability, is a major factor.

‘Given the impact of discrimination and of the emotional toll associated with hiding one’s stigma, understanding how to create a more supportive workplace environment is really important,’ said contributing author Simon Dolan. ‘Previous research on the disclosure of concealable stigmas at work has mostly overlooked whether or not employees trust in their supervisor and organization at large. The absence of trust from this field of study can limit efforts to foster inclusion at work, and we set out to rectify that.’

The paper presents a framework for examining the multiple linkages between employees' trust in their direct supervisors and their organization, and looks at how important it is to embed trust in an organizational context, both in terms of the legal framework and the HR policies and practices.

Read the article: 

The disclosure of concealable stigmas: Analysis anchored in trust
Ben Capell, Shay S. Tzafrir & Simon L. Dolan, Cogent Psychology (2016), 3: 1121066