To read this content please select one of the options below:

Illegitimate tasks: obstacles to trans equality at work

Carolina Pía García Johnson (Department of Work and Organisational Psychology, Philipps-Universitat Marburg, Marburg, Germany)
Kathleen Otto (Department of Work and Organisational Psychology, Philipps-Universitat Marburg, Marburg, Germany)

Gender in Management

ISSN: 1754-2413

Article publication date: 20 August 2021

Issue publication date: 16 August 2022




This study aims to explore the relationship between the reported frequency of illegitimate tasks undertaken at work (FREQIT) and gender identity among cisgender individuals and persons with a (?) transgender or gender non-conforming (TGNC) identity.


This research combines an experimental approach with a field-study. Study 1 contained a vignette experiment where participants reported their likelihood to assign illegitimate tasks (IT) to either a cisgender or a TGNC employee. Study 2 measured perceptions of tasks-illegitimacy (PERTI), FREQIT, perceptions of organisational gender climate (PGC), burnout and intention to quit among a sample of cisgender and TGNC participants.


In Study 1, individuals in a supervisory position were more likely to assign IT to TGNC than cisgender employees. In Study 2, gender identity influenced burnout, intentions to quit and PGC, serially mediated by PERTI and FREQIT. The results from Study 2 did not support the initial model, which proposed that lower PERTI would lead TGNC employees to report a higher FREQIT, leading to lower occupational well-being scores. Instead, TGNC participants’ burnout, intention to quit and PGC scores improved as a consequence of their lower PERTI. However, when comparing cisgender and TGNC individuals, the latter presented higher levels of burnout, intentions to quit and lower PGC scores.


This is the first study measuring the effects of IT on TGNC individuals’ occupational well-being. It underscores the importance to reduce cisgender biases and transphobia and to address IT as obstacles to trans equality in the workplace.



Carolina Pía García Johnson received a doctorate-research scholarship during the whole duration of this study, granted by the German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, DAAD).


García Johnson, C.P. and Otto, K. (2022), "Illegitimate tasks: obstacles to trans equality at work", Gender in Management, Vol. 37 No. 6, pp. 763-781.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles