"Feeling Who I Am": Developing a Theory of Intersectional Emotional Expression in the Workplace
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Scholars have studied how employs engage in emotional labor with customers, coworkers, and supervisors in the workplace for over twenty years (Grandey, 2000; Hochschild, 1983; Kim, Bhave, & Glomb, 2013; Thomas, Olien, Allen, Rogelberg, & Kello, 2018). A considerable amount of the emotional labor literature explores the impact of gender in the hypothesized relationships, largely positing that women engage more often in emotional labor and feel the consequences more severely than men (e.g., Scott & Barnes, 2011; Simpson & Stroh, 2004; Ward, McMurray, & Sutcliffe, 2020). Although important and enlightening, this approach is limited in recognizing the more complete spectrum of social identities. It inhibits understanding of how other salient facets of one’s social identity such as (dis)ability, sexual orientation, or age impact emotional performances.
I employ a grounded theory technique to study emotional labor through the intersection of race and gender in the workplace. Through an interpretivist paradigm (Glesne, 2016), I conduct a series of in-depth semi-structured interviews to explore the emotions that men and women from the three largest racial or ethnic groups in the United States – White/Caucasian, Hispanic/Latino/a, and Black/African American communities, respectively (U.S. Census Bureau, 2020) – express in the workplace, their targets, and contexts. Therefore, my dissertation aims to fully consider the holistic person doing the emotional labor. Integral to understanding the whole person is acknowledging multiple, intersecting aspects of their social identities (Crenshaw, 1989; Rosette, de Leon, Koval, & Harrison, 2018). This qualitative approach allows for a more open evaluation of the nature and emergence of felt and displayed emotions and their consequences in the workplace.
Boyd, Terrance, ""Feeling Who I Am": Developing a Theory of Intersectional Emotional Expression in the Workplace" (2023). LSU Doctoral Dissertations. 6093.
Johnson, Michael A.
Available for download on Tuesday, April 14, 2026