Cynicism and disengagement among devalued employee groups: The need to ASPIRe

Anne T. O'Brien, S. Alexander Haslam, Jolanda Jetten, Louise Humphrey, Lucy O'Sullivan, Tom Postmes, Rachael Eggins, Katherine J. Reynolds

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    30 Citations (Scopus)


    Despite a renewed interest in processes which help organizations to harness social capital, it is apparent that practical efforts to achieve this rarely focus on employees who are members of low status groups. In large part this is because such employees tend to be skeptical of, and to resist, engagement in intervention programs on the basis of previous adverse experience regarding the benefits achieved and lack of trust. This paper presents evidence that, among hospital staff, work groups who felt they were devalued displayed higher levels of cynicism regarding the potential efficacy of a stress intervention program. Within the organization, devalued groups were characterized by lower levels of organizational identification and members of these groups reported under-utilization of their skills by the organization. Thus, there is evidence that organizations are failing to realize the social capital of specific groups. The ASPIRe model of organizational development is discussed as an appropriate vehicle to provide devalued groups with genuine opportunities for development and empowerment. To the extent that such a program receives genuine institutional support, we argue that it has the potential to unlock key enclaves of social capital that tend otherwise to be overlooked.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)28-44
    Number of pages17
    JournalCareer Development International
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2004


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