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EASP – European Association of Social Psychology

Preliminary EASP Seedcorn Grant Report by Cristina Baldissarri

29.04.2019, by Tina Keil in grant report

University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy; Project about the possible consequences of working self-objectification

Christina Baldissarri, Univeristy of Milona-Bicocca
Christina Baldissarri, Univeristy of Milona-Bicocca

Despite the critical conditions they often undergo, workers belonging to particular classes or working in specific environments tend to accept their situation, rather than engage in collective action aimed at challenging the existing status quo (see for example Gino, 2016; Jost, Becker, Osborne, & Badaan, 2017; Volpato, Andrighetto, & Baldissarri, 2017). Although the reasons explaining these missing collective actions are many (e.g., job insecurity, pressure of the organization), the present research proposal sought to demonstrate that working (self-) objectification is a further important antecedent of this phenomenon.

In particular, this project aimed to analyse the possible consequences of working self-objectification - the self-perception as objects due to critical job features – on the reduced active presence of workers, with a particular focus on the dimensions of conformity (i.e., the tendency to adapt to others opinion) and ssertiveness (i.e., the tendency to assert oneself). Andrighetto and colleagues (2018) provided first evidence of the link between self-objectification and conformity, by showing that undergraduates in lab who performed objectifying activity self-objectified and, in turn, conformed more to the judgments of unknown similar others. These results were replicated in a correlational study, in which Italian workers, who perceived their work as more objectifying (i.e., repetitive, fragmented and other-directed), self-objectified more—self-attributed less human mental states and selfperceive as more instrument-like than human-like—and, in turn, were more inclined to conform with others.

Starting from these findings and thanks to the EASP Seedcorn Grant, we conducted a first study that focused on conformity and aimed at experimentally replicating previous results considering a sample of workers. The further two studies that we conducted with the support of the Seedcorn Grant focused on the link between self-objectification and assertiveness (the details and results of the studies will be updated online once they will be published).

I would like to thank EASP for the Seedcorn Grant that allowed us to conduct three studies with large samples from different countries, collected via the Prolific platform. This opportunity enables us to provide more generalizability and ecological validity to our studies and, also, more confidence and robustness about the hypothesized effects. Therefore, I am really grateful for the financial support provided by EASP.