Article | Journal of Organizational Behavior | August 2012

The Devil Without and Within: A Conceptual Model of Social Cognitive Processes Whereby Discrimination Leads Stigmatized Minorities to Become Discouraged Workers

by Peter Heslin, Myrtle Bell and Pinar O. Fletcher

Abstract

In contrast to the substantial literatures on job loss, underemployment, and re-employment, management scholars have paid scant attention to "discouraged workers," defined as those who want to work but have ceased looking for work because of labor market-related reasons such as discrimination. Drawing together the labor economics category of discouraged workers, the diversity literature on employment discrimination, and social cognitive research on careers, we model social cognitive mechanisms whereby discrimination can lead stigmatized minorities to become discouraged workers. We show how direct effects of discrimination (the "devil without") can be compounded by its indirect impacts—through minority socialization and identity, struggling role models, learned helplessness, and low job search self-efficacy (collectively, the "devil within")—to lead stigmatized minorities to become discouraged workers. Our model of insidious intra- and inter-personal dynamics that can amplify and sustain the demoralization and exclusion that stems from discrimination has implications for researchers, organizations, and those concerned with helping discouraged workers.

Keywords: Equality and Inequality; Employment; Attitudes; Diversity Characteristics; Emotions;

Citation:

Heslin, Peter, Myrtle Bell, and Pinar O. Fletcher. "The Devil Without and Within: A Conceptual Model of Social Cognitive Processes Whereby Discrimination Leads Stigmatized Minorities to Become Discouraged Workers." Special Issue on Coping with Economic Stress. Journal of Organizational Behavior 33, no. 6 (August 2012): 840–862.