Beast of Traal: About Bringing Your ‘Whole Self’ To Work
05 Jul 2022
Originally found at Beast of Traal
William Kahn conceived the concept of ‘bringing your whole self to work’ as part of his 1990 paper titled, ‘Psychological Conditions of Personal Engagement and Disengagement at Work‘ (from the Academy of Management Journal).
In it, he writes,
“People occupy roles at work; they are the occupants of the houses that roles provide. These events are relatively well understood. Researchers have given less attention to how people occupy roles to varying degrees—to how fully they are psychologically present during particular moments of role performances. People can use varying degrees of their selves, physically, cognitively, and emotionally, in the roles they perform, even as they maintain the integrity of the boundaries between who they are and the roles they occupy. Presumably, the more people draw on their selves to perform their roles within those boundaries, the more stirring are their performances and the more content they are with the fit of the costumes they don.”
But Kahn did not spell it out specifically as ‘bring your whole self to work’. That was done by Mike Robbins, in his 2015 TEDxBerkeley talk, aptly titled, ‘Bring your whole self to work’. Mike followed it up with a book of the same title (Bring Your Whole Self to Work: How Vulnerability Unlocks Creativity, Connection, and Performance).
Consider how companies have used this theme.
ING, the Dutch multinational banking and financial services company, proudly announces in the careers section of its website: “At ING we encourage you to bring your whole self to work”.
To showcase that they really mean what they say, there are several stories from employees about their personal background, experiences, difficult life situations, and so on, and how the organization made them feel welcome. So Pieter spoke about his stuttering, Sophie spoke about her gender change, Silvia spoke about her dual cultural identity, Manoj spoke about his son who was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, and so on.
Continue reading the original article at Beast of Traal.
Read the original research in Academy of Management Journal.
Learn more about the AOM Scholars and explore their work:
- Willliam A. Kahn, Boston University