Countering Heteronormativity; Lesbians and Wellbeing in the Workplace

  • Helen Woodruffe-BurtonEmail author
Part of the International Handbooks of Quality-of-Life book series (IHQL)


The aim of this chapter is to examine the ways in which lesbians manage their identity in the heteronormative environment of the workplace and to consider the impact sexual orientation has on wellbeing at work. A comprehensive review of the extant literature and theory forms the basis of the discussion, illustrated by examples from previous studies.

Identity negotiation is a key issue and lesbians face the constant pressure of identity management. This is not simply a personal perspective but a defence mechanism to counter the heteronormative culture within organisations.

The chapter can assist HRD professionals and leaders in developing organisation cultures which embrace and include difference and help obviate oppression. It may also be of interest to researchers and policy makers in the fields of diversity and equality and LGB issues and to students of organizational studies, gender and management as well as social audiences including LGBT individuals, activist groups and support groups. Wider understanding of sexual orientation issues in the workplace may help leverage greater tolerance and acceptance. As well as practical guidance for organisations developing more inclusive diversity policies and programmes, future directions for research are proposed.


Lesbian Heteronormative Butch Femme Intersectionality Queer LGB 

Suggested Further Reading

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Newcastle Business SchoolNorthumbria UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK

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