Year of Award


Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Communication Studies

Department or School/College

Department of Communication Studies

Committee Chair

Joel Iverson

Commitee Members

Daisy Rooks, Alan Sillars


workplace bullying, social identity, sensemaking, resistance, organizational communication, moral imperative, identity work, identity, human vulnerability, health


University of Montana


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.



© Copyright 2014 Montana Rafferty Moss