Stigma beyond levels: Advancing research on stigmatization

Rongrong Zhang, Milo Shaoqing Wang, Madeline Toubiana, Royston Greenwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Stigma has become an increasingly significant challenge for society. Recognition of this problem is indicated by the growing attention paid to it within the management litera-ture, which has provided illuminating insights. However, stigma has primarily been examined at a single level of analysis: individual, occupational, organizational, or in-dustry. Yet, cultural understandings of what is discreditable or taboo do not come from the individual, occupation, organization, or industry that is stigmatized; on the contrary, they come from particular sources that transcend levels. As such, we propose that current silos within the literature may not only be preventing engagement with insights from different levels of analysis but, importantly, be preventing us from truly understanding stigmatization as a social process. To address this issue, we review the stigma literature and then present a cross-level integrative framework of the sources, charac-teristics, and management strategies therein. Our framework provides a common lan-guage that integrates insights across these levels and enables a shift in attention from how actors respond to stigma to broader processes of stigmatization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-222
Number of pages35
JournalAcademy of Management Annals
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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