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Journal articles (2006), Organization Science, 17 (5), pp. 619-636

Identity Dynamics in Occupational Dirty Work: Integrating Social Identity and System Justification Perspectives

Kreiner Glen E., Ashforth Blake E., SLUSS David

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. Link to the article

KREINER, G.E., ASHFORTH, B.E. and SLUSS, D. (2006). Identity Dynamics in Occupational Dirty Work: Integrating Social Identity and System Justification Perspectives. Organization Science, 17(5), pp. 619-636.