Commodity or Dignity? Nurturing Managers' Courtesy Nurtures Workers' Productivity

by Montana Rafferty Moss

Institution: The University of Montana
Department: Communication Studies
Degree: MA
Year: 2014
Keywords: health; human vulnerability; identity; identity work; moral imperative; organizational communication; resistance; sensemaking; social identity; workplace bullying
Record ID: 2026042
Full text PDF: http://etd.lib.umt.edu/theses/available/etd-06132014-120857/


Dignity is the measure of people's worth determined through social interactions (Neal, 2012). As people must enjoy core capabilities to possess dignity (Ward & Syversen, 2009), work is one activity through which core capabilities provide a sense of worth (Venkatapuram, 2013). Workplace managers must enact dignity affirming discourse so their workers perceive ownership of core capabilities that afford a sense of worth and fulfillment. Dignity disaffirming (or violating) discourse obstructs core capabilities, leaving work unsatisfying and workers physiologically, psychologically, and emotionally damaged. Not only do such people suffer, but so do their organizations (Ghoshal, 2005). This study reveals that women and people who have worked at least four years are more likely to recognize dignity violating discourse, being sensitized to such discourse through several possible phenomena. Also, people tend not to recognize certain dignity violating discourses, which could hamper control efforts. Finally, people perceive they treat or are treated with dignity by others only moderately and dignity is only moderately important to them. This study culminates in a university-level course intended to raise awareness of dignity violating discursive behaviors and their consequences, and to offer training in dignity promoting discourse that nurtures worker dignity while supporting organizational productivity and profitability.