Affective Reactions to Difference and their Impact on Discrimination and Self-Disclosure at Work: A Social Identity Perspective


  • Maria Kakarika


Based on Social Identity Theory and related concepts, the present paper argues that a negative affective state is caused by dissimilarity at the workplace, which in turn influences discrimination and self-disclosure. Based on a review of the literature, it develops propositions about the positive effects of surface- and deep-level dissimilarity on this affective state and perceived interpersonal discrimination at work, as well as on the decision to self-disclose personal information to peers. Self-disclosure is further linked to perceptions of discrimination in two opposing ways. An individual’s perceived degree of difference from others on demographic and underlying characteristics serve as moderators of the proposed relationships, strengthening the effects of actual dissimilarity on feelings. The paper concludes by examining implications and contributions of the proposed theoretical framework to the diversity literature.