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Shouldering a silent burden: The toll of dirty tasks
Human Relations
  • Benjamin E. Baran, Northern Kentucky University
  • Steven G. Rogelberg, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • erika Carello Lopina, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • Joseph A. Allen, University of Nebraska Omaha
  • Christiane Spitzmüller, University of Houston
  • Mindy Bergman, Texas A & M University
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Dirty work involves tasks that are stigmatized owing to characteristics that the public finds disgusting, degrading, or objectionable. Conservation of resources theory suggests such experiences should induce strain and decreased work satisfaction; social identity theory suggests such work should lead to strong psychological investment in the work, among other outcomes. Integrating these two perspectives, this study hypothesizes and presents quantitative evidence from 499 animal-shelter workers, demonstrating how dirty-work engagement relates to higher levels of strain, job involvement, and reluctance to discuss work while negatively influencing work satisfaction. Additionally, this study takes a unique perspective on dirty work by focusing on dirty tasks within a dirty-work occupation. The data suggest meaningful differences between the outcomes of dirty-task frequency and dirty-task psychological salience, providing additional insight into the complexity of stigmatized occupations and ways in which future research and theory benefit as a result.
Citation Information
Benjamin E. Baran, Steven G. Rogelberg, erika Carello Lopina, Joseph A. Allen, et al.. "Shouldering a silent burden: The toll of dirty tasks" Human Relations Vol. 65 (2012) p. 597 - 626
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