The professional-private life distinction and its implications for employees’ well-being and cooperation with co-workers

The quality of one’s collaboration with co-workers (and thus team performance) is not just dependent on task-related factors (how good one is at their job) but also on relationship-oriented factors (how well one gets on with their colleagues). By confiding in and sharing one’s personal life with co-workers, employees build trust in one another, potentially leading to better collaboration and teamwork. It also contributes to the “goodwill factor”: people are willing to make just a little more effort for a colleague who is friendly than for one who never wants to have a chat. There are indications that members of marginalized groups have a more challenging time finding support and particularly task-related advice in organizations.

The aim of this project is twofold. Firstly, we will investigate why minority employees may have difficulty building and maintaining trusting relations/ mutual support with co-workers (those that provide social and advisory support). To this end, we will compare the professional-private life distinction among different groups of employees (minority vs. majority groups) and examine its implications for employees’ relations with co-workers and how this impacts their sense of inclusion, work-related stress, organizational commitment, and turnover intentions. Secondly, we aim to demonstrate how to optimize organizational efforts toward improving the well-being and careers of minority employees and the fair and synergetic climate of the organizations. To this end, we examine the implications of the professional-private life distinction for the effectiveness of ERGs.


This project is funded by SCOOP.