Date of Award

Fall 12-2023




Communication - Communication Studies Track

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Communication Department

First Advisor

Dr. Benjamin Baker

Second Advisor

Dr. Tesa Leonce

Third Advisor

Dr. Tiffany McBride


The present study examines how corporate women use self-presentation in the workplace to communicate professionalism. The study utilizes Communication Theory of Identity (CTI) to consider the self-presentation experiences of corporate women. CTI identifies four identity layers: personal, relational, enacted, and communal, which interact and influence each other as individuals attempt to define themselves. Through semi-structured, in-depth interviews with corporate women, the present study found the following results: women often receive communication regarding self-presentation standards from peers rather than formal policies, self-presentation expectations have become more casual and diverse, women still encounter challenges resulting in the need to (re)negotiate their identity, and corporate women often experience personal-enacted identity gaps as a result of self-presentation expectations. This study contributes to the growing collection of academic literature that seeks to better understand the experiences of corporate women’s gendered marginalization in the workplace.