Dirty Work and Dirtier Work

Differences in Countering Physical, Social, and Moral Stigma

Blake Ashforth, Glen E. Kreiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

53 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The literature on dirty work has focused on what physically (e.g., garbage collectors), socially (e.g., addiction counsellors), and morally (e.g., exotic dancers) stigmatized occupations have in common, implying that dirty work is a relatively monolithic construct. In this article, we focus on the differences between these three forms of dirty work and how occupational members collectively attempt to counter the particular stigma associated with each. We argue that the largest differences are between moral dirty work and the other two forms; if physical and social dirty work tend to be seen as more necessary than evil, then moral dirty work tends to be seen as more evil than necessary. Moral dirty work typically constitutes a graver identity threat to occupational members, fostering greater entitativity (a sense of being a distinct group), a greater reliance on members as social buffers, and a greater use of condemning condemners and organization-level defensive tactics. We develop a series of propositions to formalize our arguments and suggest how this more nuanced approach to studying dirty work can stimulate and inform future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-108
Number of pages28
JournalManagement and Organization Review
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2014

Fingerprint

Stigma
Buffer
Addiction
Social work
Threat
Tactics

Keywords

  • Defensive tactics
  • Dirty work
  • Ideology
  • Social buffers
  • Stigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Strategy and Management

Cite this

Dirty Work and Dirtier Work : Differences in Countering Physical, Social, and Moral Stigma. / Ashforth, Blake; Kreiner, Glen E.

In: Management and Organization Review, Vol. 10, No. 1, 03.2014, p. 81-108.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{468d56af67494acb8172b31fb6d22282,
title = "Dirty Work and Dirtier Work: Differences in Countering Physical, Social, and Moral Stigma",
abstract = "The literature on dirty work has focused on what physically (e.g., garbage collectors), socially (e.g., addiction counsellors), and morally (e.g., exotic dancers) stigmatized occupations have in common, implying that dirty work is a relatively monolithic construct. In this article, we focus on the differences between these three forms of dirty work and how occupational members collectively attempt to counter the particular stigma associated with each. We argue that the largest differences are between moral dirty work and the other two forms; if physical and social dirty work tend to be seen as more necessary than evil, then moral dirty work tends to be seen as more evil than necessary. Moral dirty work typically constitutes a graver identity threat to occupational members, fostering greater entitativity (a sense of being a distinct group), a greater reliance on members as social buffers, and a greater use of condemning condemners and organization-level defensive tactics. We develop a series of propositions to formalize our arguments and suggest how this more nuanced approach to studying dirty work can stimulate and inform future research.",
keywords = "Defensive tactics, Dirty work, Ideology, Social buffers, Stigma",
author = "Blake Ashforth and Kreiner, {Glen E.}",
year = "2014",
month = "3",
doi = "10.1111/more.12044",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "10",
pages = "81--108",
journal = "Management and Organization Review",
issn = "1740-8776",
publisher = "Wiley-Blackwell",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Dirty Work and Dirtier Work

T2 - Differences in Countering Physical, Social, and Moral Stigma

AU - Ashforth, Blake

AU - Kreiner, Glen E.

PY - 2014/3

Y1 - 2014/3

N2 - The literature on dirty work has focused on what physically (e.g., garbage collectors), socially (e.g., addiction counsellors), and morally (e.g., exotic dancers) stigmatized occupations have in common, implying that dirty work is a relatively monolithic construct. In this article, we focus on the differences between these three forms of dirty work and how occupational members collectively attempt to counter the particular stigma associated with each. We argue that the largest differences are between moral dirty work and the other two forms; if physical and social dirty work tend to be seen as more necessary than evil, then moral dirty work tends to be seen as more evil than necessary. Moral dirty work typically constitutes a graver identity threat to occupational members, fostering greater entitativity (a sense of being a distinct group), a greater reliance on members as social buffers, and a greater use of condemning condemners and organization-level defensive tactics. We develop a series of propositions to formalize our arguments and suggest how this more nuanced approach to studying dirty work can stimulate and inform future research.

AB - The literature on dirty work has focused on what physically (e.g., garbage collectors), socially (e.g., addiction counsellors), and morally (e.g., exotic dancers) stigmatized occupations have in common, implying that dirty work is a relatively monolithic construct. In this article, we focus on the differences between these three forms of dirty work and how occupational members collectively attempt to counter the particular stigma associated with each. We argue that the largest differences are between moral dirty work and the other two forms; if physical and social dirty work tend to be seen as more necessary than evil, then moral dirty work tends to be seen as more evil than necessary. Moral dirty work typically constitutes a graver identity threat to occupational members, fostering greater entitativity (a sense of being a distinct group), a greater reliance on members as social buffers, and a greater use of condemning condemners and organization-level defensive tactics. We develop a series of propositions to formalize our arguments and suggest how this more nuanced approach to studying dirty work can stimulate and inform future research.

KW - Defensive tactics

KW - Dirty work

KW - Ideology

KW - Social buffers

KW - Stigma

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84897772128&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84897772128&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1111/more.12044

DO - 10.1111/more.12044

M3 - Article

VL - 10

SP - 81

EP - 108

JO - Management and Organization Review

JF - Management and Organization Review

SN - 1740-8776

IS - 1

ER -