Cech, E. A., & Waidzunas, T. (2022). LGBTQ@NASA and Beyond: Work Structure and Workplace Inequality among LGBTQ STEM Professionals. Work and Occupations, 49(2), 187–228. https://doi.org/10.1177/07308884221080938

Scholars are just beginning to understand how organizational processes shape LGBTQ workplace inequality. Using multimethod data from STEM professionals, this article examines how one such factor—the way work tasks are structured within organizations—may impact LGBTQ workers’ experiences of marginalization and devaluation. Through interviews with STEM professionals at two NASA space flight centers with different work structures, we find that LGBTQ professionals at the NASA center where work is organized in dynamic project-based teams experienced less inclusive and respectful interactions with colleagues, in part because they had to rapidly establish credibility and develop new status management strategies each time they were shuffled into new teams. The stability of the traditional unit-based structure at the other NASA center, by contrast, allowed LGBTQ professionals time to navigate status management and build trust. This stability also facilitated LGBTQ community building. Analysis of survey data of over 14,000 US STEM professionals (594 who identify as LGBTQ) corroborates this work structure pattern: LGBTQ professionals across STEM disciplines and employment sectors working in dynamic project-based teams were more likely to report interpersonal marginalization and devaluation than LGBTQ professionals who worked in traditional unit-based structures. These findings highlight work structure as an important mechanism of LGBTQ inequality that demands further investigation.