Thursday, 26 July 2012

The devil without and within:

A conceptual model of social cognitive processes whereby discrimination leads stigmatized minorities to become discouraged workers

 an article by Peter A. Heslin (University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia), Myrtle P. Bell (University of Texas–Arlington, USA) and Pinar O. Fletcher (Harvard Business School, Boston, Massachusetts) published in Journal of Organizational Behavior (Special Issue: Coping with Economic Stress) Volume 33 Issue 6 (August 2012)


In contrast to the substantial literatures on job loss, underemployment, and re-employment, management scholars have paid scant attention to “discouraged workers,” defined as those who want to work but have ceased looking for work because of labour market-related reasons such as discrimination.

Drawing together the labour economics category of discouraged workers, the diversity literature on employment discrimination, and social cognitive research on careers, we model social cognitive mechanisms whereby discrimination can lead stigmatized minorities to become discouraged workers.

We show how direct effects of discrimination (the “devil without”) can be compounded by its indirect impacts – through minority socialization and identity, struggling role models, learned helplessness, and low job search self-efficacy (collectively, the “devil within”) – to lead stigmatized minorities to become discouraged workers.

Our model of insidious intra- and inter-personal dynamics that can amplify and sustain the demoralization and exclusion that stems from discrimination has implications for researchers, organizations, and those concerned with helping discouraged workers.

Hazel’s comment:
This is an article which bears reading by anyone working in career or employment advice – not that I have yet managed to do so!! I couldn’t find a price for purchase but it is free through subscribing institutions. It is not yet on the shelf in the Social Sciences Reading Room at the British Library and does not appear to be available electronically.

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