For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Development and Validation of the Workplace Dignity Scale"

by Thomas, Benjamin; Lucas, Kristen (2019)


As organizational scholars have become critically attuned to human flourishing in the workplace, interest in workplace dignity has grown rapidly. Yet, a valid scale to measure employees? perceptions of dignity in the workplace has yet to be developed, thereby limiting potential empirical insights. To fill this need, we conducted a systematic, multi-study scale development project. Using data generated from focus groups (N = 62), an expert panel (N = 11), and two surveys (N = 401 and N = 542), we developed and validated an 18-item Workplace Dignity Scale (WDS). Our studies reveal evidence in support of the WDS? psychometric properties, as well as its content, construct, and criterion-related validity. Our structural models support predictive relationships between workplace characteristics (e.g., dirty work, income insufficiency) and dignity. Moreover, we observed the incremental validity of workplace dignity to account for variance in employee engagement, burnout, and turnover intentions above and beyond the explanatory effects of organizational respect and meaningful work. These results demonstrate the promise of the WDS for organizational research.

Key Passage

Drawing from a Kantian view of dignity, humanistic management scholars such as Pirson (2017) maintain that organizations and managers have a duty to both protect and promote the dignity of individuals. In this vein, Donaldson and Walsh (2015) advance a theory of business that positions the protection and promotion of all participants’ dignity as the ultimate purpose of business and the standard by which success should be judged. (p.75)


Empirical Study, Dignity, Organisations, Empirical Research


Organisation and Management Studies

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