Doctoral Student

Rachel D Arnett

I am a Doctoral Candidate at Harvard University, in an interdisciplinary program between Harvard Business School's Organizational Behavior unit and Harvard's Social Psychology department. My research focuses on professional identity and achievement. Specifically, I research professional identity construction and decisions, professional achievement among underrepresented groups, and professional identity disclosure. My research integrates several literatures, including identity, careers, status, gender, social class, race, and decision making. Before Harvard, I was a Research Assistant in New York University's Social Psychology department and a Senior Brand Strategist at Young & Rubicam Advertising. I received my Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania.

  1. Overview

    My research focuses on professional identity and achievement. Specifically, I research professional identity construction and decisions, professional achievement among underrepresented groups, and professional identity disclosure. My research integrates several literatures, including identity, careers, status, gender, social class, race, and decision making. Below are my three streams of research.

    Keywords: professional identity; Authenticity; careers; Status; gender; Social Class; race; disclosure; decision making process;

  2. Professional Paths: Identity Construction and Decision Making

    My research on professional identity construction investigates how individuals develop, maintain, and shift their professional identities. In one project, I investigate how desired and feared parental role models influence professionals' ongoing career and family-related identity processes. An emerging area of my research focuses on how people make career decisions and overcome career-related conflicts.

    Keywords: professional identity; Identity Construction; Decison Making; Role Models;

  3. Professional Achievement for Underrepresented Groups: Gender, Social Class, and Race

    In my research on professional achievement, I investigate how disadvantaged and underrepresented groups reach career success. My research on gender examines how personal life events and decisions can positively or negatively influence career success. My research on social class investigates how interventions with individuals from lower socioeconomic backgrounds can help them to perform better and gain more professional opportunities. My research on race explores the extent to which male minorities are subjected to outgroup biases.

    Keywords: Professional achievement; gender; Social Class; Social mobility; race;

  4. Professional Identity Management: Status and Disclosure

    When individuals achieve professional goals, they also attain high status identities, such as being a college graduate, manager, professor, or employee at a presitigious firm. Once attained, how do individuals communicate their high status professional identities to others? Have you ever told someone that you are a teacher instead of a professor? Would you conceal aspects of your educational background when volunteering in an underprivileged community? In my research on status and disclosure, I investigate how individuals manage high status identities in cross-status interactions. This work examines when and why individuals conceal high status identities, as well as the personal, interpersonal, and societal ramifications of concealment.

    Keywords: Status; disclosure; identity; Interpersonal Interactions;