My research primarily investigates the antecedents, consequences, and organizational constraints associated with cultural self-expression, particularly for racial and ethnic minorities. By cultural self-expression, I mean voluntary expression that may suggests membership in a devalued identity group is central to a person’s identity. Across varied organizational contexts (i.e., work, school, church, etc.), and mediums of self-expression, I focus on two broad research questions: (1) what are the antecedents and consequences of cultural self-expression; (2) how do seemingly race-neutral organizational norms that constrain the expression of stigmatized identities sustain inequality? Below, in no particular order, I briefly highlight some research areas where I’m presently doing work with collaborators (this isn’t intended to be exhaustive).
Sociohistorically, hair has played an important role in Black culture and Black-White race relations. Given hair is an important dimension of self-expression, and afro-textured hair (and by extension, Black hairstyles more generally) are almost exclusive to people of sub-Saharan African descent, I argue that hair is an important medium for ameliorating or exacerbating Black-non-Black inequality (Nwadei and Krueger, 2022). In this research stream, I seek to understand how Black hairstyles (i.e., afros, dreadlocks, etc.) may play a broader role in understanding how (in)equality is produced and sustained, both for people of sub-Saharan African descent and other devalued identity groups in American society.
A person’s creativity, broadly, may provide an inside look concerning who they are, how they think, and what types of ideas they believe are worth sharing (i.e., what ideas are “good”). In light of this, women and racioethnic minorities may face unique challenges within the domain of workplace creativity. On the one hand, they may embrace identities they possess that society devalues and produce novel, brilliant creative outputs that are inspired by their membership in these groups. At the same time, they may perceive it as beneficial to assimilate to norms of the dominant group, including the creative ideas they share and pursue, to reduce their stigma in the workplace. In this research stream, I seek to understand how intergroup dynamics, broadly, affect workplace creativity, both for minority group members and their counterparts.
PROFESSIONALISM & RESPECTABILITY
Norms related to professionalism and respectability are fairly ubiquitous across schools and workplaces. Even though we may agree these norms exists, and are even necessary on some level, we know quite little about them empirically. These norms, however, directly effect people’s social mobility, and this may be especially true for racial and ethnic minorities (vs. their White counterparts). In this research stream, I seek to understand how norms relating to professionalism and respectability may affect various ethnic groups in education and employment contexts.