Enrica Ruggs, University of Houston, Bauer College of Business

Lets be Real: Benefits and Barriers to Authenticity in Organizations
Enrica Ruggs, University of Houston, Bauer College of Business


Fall 2021
Lecture Time: 
Friday, October 29, 2021 - 1:30pm to 3:00pm
Lecture Location: 

R0220, Ross Building

Introduced By: 
Hannah Ratliff


In recent years, many organizations have adopted the notion that employees should “bring their whole selves to work,” or be authentic in the workplace. Research supports the benefits of authenticity at work (Cha et al., 2019). The conversation often assumes that everyone has equal opportunity to express themselves authentically. Yet, given the discrimination experienced by some employees, such Black women, authentic behavior may not be attainable, even for those in leadership positions. Drawing from research on power and intersectionality, we examined the factors that influence authenticity for Black women leaders in organizations. Findings from qualitative interviews reveal factors that inhibit and facilitate the willingness to be authentic at work, as well as the different manifestations and consequences of authentic behavior for Black women leaders at work. I discuss the theoretical and practical insights that emerge from this work.

Recording & Additional Notes

Enrica N. Ruggs, Ph.D. is an associate professor of management in the C.T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston. She received her Ph.D. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from Rice University, her M.S. degree from St. Mary’s University, and her bachelor’s degrees (B.A. and B.S.) from Prairie View A&M University. In her research she examines individual, organizational, and societal factors that influence inequity in workplace. Her work focuses on the manifestation of subtle forms of discrimination and mistreatment toward employees with stigmatized identities, the outcomes of these behaviors, and strategies that individuals and organizations can engage in to combat and reduce discrimination. Additionally, she examines the experiences of minority employees to understand factors that influence job attitudes and psychological well-being. Dr. Ruggs has received funding for her work from the National Science Foundation. Her research has been published in academic outlets such as Journal of Applied Psychology and Journal of Management, and it has been featured in popular media outlets such as the New York Times, U.S. News & World Report, Business Insider, and Fortune. She is a member of several professional associations including the Academy of Management, the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, and Southern Management Association.