When I worked in banking, I saw a lot of pressure to conform. To get ahead and gain favor, many employees made their best efforts to reflect the values that were dominant within their organization. Whether a workplace was fiercely competitive or extremely team-orientated, people’s success depended on conforming in terms of physical attire and “talking shop” to show they could fit in socially. This generated a great deal of stress for employees whose backgrounds, values, and perspectives did not readily fit the prototype for success in their work environments.
By Patricia Faison Hewlin
So, about 20 years ago, I started to conduct some research on what drives conformity and delve into the experience of suppressing authenticity at work.
According to that research, about a third of employees in North America feel pressure to suppress their personal values and pretend to go along with the values of th…