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

Blake Ashforth, Glen E. Kreiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

649 Citations (Scopus)

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
StatePublished - Jul 1999
Externally publishedYes

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Stigma
Social perception
Weighting
Social identity
Social comparison
Outsider

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

Cite this

How can you do it? Dirty work and the challenge of constructing a positive identity. / Ashforth, Blake; Kreiner, Glen E.

In: Academy of Management Review, Vol. 24, No. 3, 07.1999, p. 413-434.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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