Oggettivazione lavorativa. Quando il lavoro trasforma l’uomo in un oggetto
In: Minority Reports. Cultural Disability Studies, 2020
Objectification – the perception and treatment of others as mere objects – is a relevant phenomenon in the workplace. Indeed, several theoretical analyses have emphasized its persistence in the capitalist society. However, only in recent years social psychological research has been interested in objectification in the work domain, by considering the two facets of the phenomenon. The first concerns the process by which workers are objectified by others as a consequence of their work. Several studies have shown that both asymmetrical work relationship and objectifying activities (repetitive, fragmented and other-directed) promote objectification, that is the perception of workers as tools, lacking human mental states. The second facet concerns the self-objectification of workers, the process by which they perceive themselves as mere objects because of their work experiences. Research has shown that self-objectification can be triggered by the perception of being objectified by superiors or when performing objectifying activities. This phenomenon entails a series of negative consequences: less involvement in the performed task, worse performance, reduced beliefs in personal free will and greater tendency to conformity. The implications of these results and the future directions of research, which focus on the possible role of workers’ self-objectification in maintaining inequalities, will be discussed.