Identity dynamics in occupational dirty work: Integrating social identity and system justification perspectives

Glen E. Kreiner, Blake Ashforth, David M. Sluss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

172 Scopus citations

Abstract

Ashforth and Kreiner (1999) documented how workers in so-called "dirty work" occupations were able to overcome threats to their social identities by engaging in the cognitive tactics of ideology manipulation and social weighting. This paper expands Ashforth and Kreiner's work in three ways. First, we move beyond an exclusive focus on intense dirty work occupations by mapping the broader landscape of stigmatized work. Second, we examine how system justification theory and social identity theory - typically cast as competing mechanisms by which individuals and groups perceive their places in a social structure - can complement each other to tell a more complete story of how individuals and groups deal with stigmatized identities. Third, we consider how stigmatized workers experience identification, disidentification, and ambivalence as a result of conflicting occupational and societal influences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)619-636
Number of pages18
JournalOrganization Science
Volume17
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 10 2006

Keywords

  • Ambivalent identification
  • Dirty work
  • Disidentification
  • Identification
  • Social identity theory
  • Stigma
  • System justification theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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