Resilience and Post-Traumatic Growth after Discriminatory Job Loss: The Case of Academics Dismissed after Turkey's 2016 Coup

Erhan Atay, Serkan Bayraktaroglu

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Abstract

This study is about the impact of discriminatory job loss (DJL) on individual attitudes. It is based on interviews with 36 academics who were inequitably and involuntarily fired, and aggressively and punitively discriminated against. We extend previous research on workplace discrimination by exploring the effects of discriminatory job loss on a skilled workforce and by going beyond the job loss itself to examine coping mechanisms, resilience and post-traumatic growth. We found that gratitude, patience and optimism or pessimism about one's future and career were leading individual factors in the ability to cope with discriminatory job loss. Such coping mechanisms, and their roles in resilience and post-traumatic growth, were described to us by academics in Turkey and abroad. This study of DJL (discriminatory job loss) is a contribution to the literature on job loss and workplace discrimination. In particular, we aim to improve understanding of the psychological outcomes of job loss and termination while exploring their specific causes. Unlike previous studies, this one shows a hidden, unknown and veiled side of DJL, as changes in attitudes are hard to notice, or in some cases unnoticeable, until individuals act or speak out. We extend previous workplace discrimination research by exploring the effects of discriminatory job loss on skilled workers and by providing a broader perspective that includes positive aspects, such as resilience and post-traumatic growth. We found that gratitude, patience and optimism or pessimism about one's future and career were leading determinants of the ability to cope with discriminatory job loss. Among academic victims of DJL, the ability to cope was key to resilience and strategies for post-traumatic growth. Thus, unfair firing and punitive discrimination do not necessarily stop highly skilled workers from having hopes, expectations and plans for the future. They struggle to reduce external negative outcomes by combining resilience and PTG strategies with internal attitudes of optimism, gratitude and patience. On a practical note, workplace discrimination may be prevented through resilience and PTG strategies.

Discuter de la perte discriminatoire des emplois (PDE), plus spécifiquement des licenciements et de la discrimination collective peut contribuer de manière significative à la littérature sur la perte d'emploi et la discrimination au travail. L'étude actuelle vise à combler certaines lacunes dans la compréhension du phénomène de la perte d'emploi et à explorer les déclencheurs spécifiques derrière ces attitudes. Contrairement aux études précédentes, cette étude dévoile le côté caché, inconnu et voilé de la PDE, car les changements d'attitude sont difficiles à remarquer, ou dans certains cas, imperceptibles, jusqu'à ce que les individus agissent ou s'expriment. Ainsi, nous approfondissons les recherches antérieures en explorant les effets de la perte d'emploi discriminatoire sur une main-d'oeuvre qualifiée. Nos explorations montrent que la gratitude, la patience et les attitudes optimistes et/ou pessimistes envers leur avenir et leur carrière étaient les principaux impacts internes de la perte d'emploi discriminatoire. Les travailleurs et travailleuses académiques emploient des mécanismes d'adaptation basés sur la résilience et des stratégies de croissance post-traumatique. Notre constat théorique est qu'être victime d'un licenciement inéquitable et de discrimination punitive pourrait ne pas empêcher une main-d'oeuvre hautement qualifiée d'avoir de l'espoir, des attentes et des plans pour l'avenir. Le personnel académique lutte pour réduire les impacts négatifs en utilisant des stratégies de résilience, des attitudes optimistes, reconnaissantes et patientes. En pratique, la discrimination sur le lieu de travail peut être réduite grâce à la résilience et aux stratégies de GCP.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalRelations Industrielles
Volume78
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2023

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