From Hypernormalization of Workplace Inequality to Dehumanization: A way out for Human Resource Management

Mendy, John (2022) From Hypernormalization of Workplace Inequality to Dehumanization: A way out for Human Resource Management. In: The Absurd Workplace. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-3-031-17886-3, 3031178866

Mendy J 2022 Hypernormalization of workplace inequality.pdf
Mendy J 2022 Hypernormalization of workplace inequality.pdf

Item Type:Book Section
Item Status:Live Archive


Workplace inequality is an ongoing employment and social problem. Attempts in Human Resource Management (HRM)-related fields to explain the contributory factors to inequality have stabilized, legitimized, and perpetuated the unquestioning adoption of equality, diversity, and inclusion practices in staff hiring, training and development, pay, and reward. This has led to the absurdity highlighted in legislators and employers’ attempts to address the perpetuation of inequality. However, the emerging normalization of inequality in workplaces and society has marginalized autistic employees and jobseekers thereby creating a hypernormalization of the absurd. Yurchak’s notion of the ‘hypernormalization’ of absurdity is recreated in this chapter’s examination of autistic employees, who, despite their philosophical aspirations and practical attempts to contribute towards greater workplace equality, have been dehumanized as a result of the adoption of HRM practices pointing to the normalization of inequality. This chapter critiques the dichotomization of workplace inequality into challenge/risk recognition and mitigation and highlights how such an approach has paradoxically led to the normalization of inequality and the dehumanization of autistic employees at work and in society. The survey responses of 24 highly functioning and work-ready autistic jobseekers are captured to present four thematic categories, and by using Alvesson and Skoldberg’s narrative inquiry and analytical approach, I have extended Yurchak’s ‘hypernormalization of the absurd’ to include four proposals as an alternative framework. This will help address the absurd normalization of inequality at work and the dehumanization of marginalized groups like autistic staff and therefore provide a way out for HRM. These four propositions are embedded in a new four-stage resilience intervention model which radicalizes how HR scholars and practitioners address the perpetuation of absurdity in workplace inequality by going beyond the conceptualization and categorization of inequality in terms of challenge/risk and mitigation to include (1) a recalibration of what inequality means, (2) a reconceptualization of the hypernormalization of the absurd application of employment practices, (3) a deeper understanding of how support and advice for marginalized jobseekers should include a community-focused approach, and (4) a resilience perspective on how workplace inequality can be resolved by HR professionals. The implications for practice, methodology, theory, and future research directions for societal, organizational, and individual humanization are considered.

Keywords:hypernormalization/absurdity, workplace inequality, HRM, dehumanization, Resilience model
Subjects:N Business and Administrative studies > N200 Management studies
Divisions:Lincoln International Business School
ID Code:52292
Deposited On:07 Nov 2022 14:47

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