Pregnancy in the Workplace: Stigmatization and Work Identity Management Among Pregnant Employees

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2004-09-08

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As increasing numbers of women enter the workplace, more and more women and their employers are confronted with the issue of combining work, pregnancy, and childbirth. Unfortunately, very little management or organizational psychology research has examined the experiences of pregnant employees in the workplace. In this paper, I describe a qualitative, grounded theory study of the phenomenon of pregnancy and work, presenting a model of stigmatization and identity management among pregnant workers. I identify several work environment and job characteristics that may influence the likelihood that pregnant women perceive a threat of stigmatization, and I specify the relationship between that perceived stigmatization and efforts women make to manage their work identities.

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