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Multiple Graziadio Professors Jointly Publish Research on Restoring Dignity at Work

A confluence of events, including the pandemic, racial inequality, and technological dehumanization, have made dignity a poignant concept at this point in history. In workplaces around the world, there has been a historic erosion of feelings of dignity. 

Multiple Pepperdine Graziadio professors, including Cristina Gibson, Bobbi Thomason, Jaclyn Margolis, Kevin Groves, Stephen Gibson, and Jennifer Franczak, published the first systematic review of dignity in the workplace, reviewing 523 scholarly articles in philosophy, theology, psychology, sociology, and management journals.

The authors found that in many philosophical and theological traditions, the focus is more on the inherent dignity that human beings have. In management circles, the focus is more on earned dignity, or the dignity people gain through actions and what employees do in the workplace. 

The co-authors combined these two views, defining dignity at work as “the inherent and earned worth, value, and esteem experienced by individuals at work in the absence of disaffection, exclusion, and expendability, and in the presence of connectedness, respect, and meaningfulness.” 

“I think of it like the perfect storm,” explained Gibson to The Academy of Management. “To some extent, these experiences have occurred throughout history. There have been other epidemics. There have been other horrific occurrences related to racial inequality. There have been points in time, as industrialization has occurred, that many people experienced technology as dehumanizing. But the fact that events related to these issues recently coincided in a very short time span meant that many people were feeling a lack of dignity.”

The full research article will be published in The Academy of Management later this month. To read the summary article written by The Academy of Management, click here