Alicia Grandey, Pennsylvania State University

Hot Flashes at Work? The Disclosure Dilemma for Menopausal Women
Alicia Grandey


Winter 2023
Lecture Time: 
Friday, March 31, 2023 - 1:30pm to 3:00pm
Lecture Location: 

R0220, Ross building

Introduced By: 
Zoe Schwingel-Sauer


Middle age is the golden age for employees, with assumptions of greater expertise and stability resulting in being “leadership material”. Middle age also brings new experiences for those with female reproductive organs – namely, menopause – about which organizational scholarship is largely silent. Prior research shows that women are embarrassed to share their menopausal status at work, but vasomotor symptoms (“hot flashes”) -- sweating and flushing – are a common and observable experience that may “out” her menopausal identity. I will discuss how menopause is a “taboo” at work, drawing on the stigma and disclosure literature to propose that menopausal stigma constrains leadership opportunities for women and what can be done about it. Describing findings from a series of experimental vignette methodology studies, I will answer the following questions: 1) What is menopause and why is it relevant to study in organizational contexts? 2) Does menopausal status evoke less favorable stereotypes than middle-age in ways that constrain leadership outcomes for women? 3) Does concealing or disclosing menopausal status from work colleagues improve judgments of leadership potential? In short, I aim to share why it is both prevalent and relevant to study menopause in organizational science, and what we can do to reduce the potential for biased decisions about leader potential.

Recording & Additional Notes

Dr. Alicia Grandey earned her doctorate in industrial-organizational psychology in 1999 and is now a Liberal Arts Professor of Psychology. Over the past 25 years, she has published over 60 articles that garner over 30,000 citations: in the top 1% of for impact among business and management scholars. Her research and book are mostly on emotional labor – the managing of emotions while performing the work role – as well as workforce diversity (i.e., gendered, racial, political, cultural). To close the science-practice gap, she writes translational articles for Harvard Business Review (HBR) and The Conversation, and recently founded Penn State’s Healthy-Inclusive-Productive (H.I.P.) Workplace Initiative with interdisciplinary scholars and industry advisory board. She is currently serving as Associate Editor (AE) for Journal of Applied Psychology after just completing her term as AE for Journal of Occupational Health Psychology. She is a Fellow of SIOP and APS and can be found lurking on Twitter @AliciaGrandey.