Normal Deviants and Erving Goffman: Extending the Literature on Organizational Stigma
Keywords:Work/life balance, Identity, meaning & culture, Organization & management
AbstractThe paper highlights two problematic tendencies in the burgeoning literature on organizational stigma. The first tendency is conceptual, where stigma is treated at the organizational level, thereby neglecting social encounters at the micro-level. As a way of remedying this, we enroll the seminal writings of Erving Goffman to situate organizational stigma in the interaction order. The second tendency is empirical, where the inclusion of actors performing stigma management is limited to managerial and organizational actors, thus neglecting many of those faced with managing organizational stigma. We report from an explorative study of ordinary wage laborers in the Swedish arms and pornography industries situated toward the bottom of their organizations and referred to as ‘normal deviants’. The paper shows how and why the organizational stigma literature could be more sensitive and inclusive toward whom, how, when, and where organizational stigma is managed.
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