How can you do it? Dirty work and the challenge of constructing a positive identity

Blake E. Ashforth, Glen E. Kreiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

717 Scopus citations

Abstract

The identity literature suggests that the stigma of "dirty work" threatens the ability of occupational members to construct an esteem-enhancing social identity. However, research indicates much the opposite, creating a puzzle we attempt to answer. We argue that the stigma of dirty work fosters development of a strong occupational or workgroup culture, which fosters (1) ideological reframing, recalibrating, and refocusing and (2) selective social comparisons and differential weighting of outsiders' views. These defense mechanisms transform the meaning of "dirt" and moderate the impact of social perceptions of dirtiness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)413-434
Number of pages22
JournalAcademy of Management Review
Volume24
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'How can you do it? Dirty work and the challenge of constructing a positive identity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this