Identity Work in a Prestigious Occupation: Academic Physicians’ Local Social Constructions of Distributive Justice

Ryan S. Bisel, Alaina Zanin, Bobby L. Rozzell, Erin C. Risley-Baird, Julia A. Rygaard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

This case study explains how coworkers socially constructed a hierarchy of prestige within their department. Analysis of interviews with academic physicians revealed participants engaged in identity work by deprecating colleagues’ efforts, while making sense of their own and their subgroups’ contributions defensively. The organizational discourse perpetuated a dysfunctional communication cycle (what we label organizational bruising) that invited subgroup members to experience departmental scheduling as unjust. The study presents the concept of taunt to describe how participants’ interpretation that prestige was being withheld from them locally triggered identity work similar to the perception that one’s work is demeaned in societal discourse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-392
Number of pages22
JournalWestern Journal of Communication
Volume80
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 7 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Identity Work
  • Justice
  • Prestige
  • Sensemaking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication

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