When Workers Feel Like Objects: A Field Study on Self-Objectification and Affective Organizational Commitment


  • Roberta Rosa Valtorta
  • Maria Grazia Monaci


Objectification is a form of dehumanization that implies the perception of others as mere objects. The present study aimed to expand research on objectification in the work domain by exploring the relationships between objectifying job features, self-objectification, and affective organizational commitment within a real work setting. Building on previous literature, we hypothesized that the execution of objectifying work activities would be positively related to workers’ tendency to objectify themselves. Further, we expected a decrease in affective organizational commitment as the outcome of these perceptions. A study involving 142 Italian supermarket clerks (75 females) supported our hypotheses. Workers with a low-status job role (i.e., cashiers and salespeople vs. managers) perceived their activities as more objectifying. In turn, this perception heightened their self-objectification, which decreased workers’ commitment towards the organization. Our results enrich the understanding of workplace objectification by also providing relevant insights into the link between social-psychological and organizational processes.