Scapegoating in the Organization: Which Regulation Modes?

  • Mélia Djabi University of Paris Saclay, Sceaux, France
  • Oriane Sitte de Longueval University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland
Keywords: Scapegoat, Collective persecution, Ostracism, Regulation, Stigma, Violence at work

Abstract

Several studies have focused on scapegoating in the organizational context. However, most have tended to enclose the protagonists in predefined roles: scapegoats are relatively passive, their colleagues persecute them, and management quickly join the persecutors. According to this scenario, the outcome ends irrevocably with the scapegoat’s isolation. The literatures in related fields have nevertheless suggested other modes of regulation, and we might question whether our representation of the organizational scapegoating process, from passive actors to automatic outcome, offers a full account of this complex phenomenon as it unfolds and is lived. We in fact do not know how organizational actors regulate the scapegoating process, interfering with and influencing its trajectory and outcome. In this article, we conceptualize this complex process by examining the active and regulating roles of its protagonists and how they hinder or even avert the violence of scapegoating. In an exploratory and qualitative study of seven cases of scapegoating in a large French company, we describe the actions of the scapegoats (combating the persecution, struggling against stigma, avoidance, and departure) and management (support for persecutors, support for the scapegoat, and ambivalent support). The articulation of the protagonists’ actions ultimately leads to four types of resolution for the scapegoat: isolation, expulsion, cohabitation, and assimilation. Two modes of regulation emerge: the first mode strengthens and catalyzes the scapegoating process, whereas the second mode prevents and channels it. By detailing the actors’ actions and their capacities to co-regulate the scapegoating process, this study moves beyond a deterministic vision of scapegoating and underlines the role of its protagonists. A research agenda is discussed.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Mélia Djabi, University of Paris Saclay, Sceaux, France

Mélia Djabi is Associate Professor of Management at Paris Saclay University in Paris, France. Her research focuses on organizational change/crisis contexts. She is particularly interested in organizational socialization process, role strains and scapegoating mechanisms. 

Oriane Sitte de Longueval, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland

Oriane Sitte de Longueval gained her PhD in Management at Paris-Dauphine University PSL in France and is now a post-doctoral fellow at Geneva University, Switzerland. Her research focuses on interactions in tense or risky contexts, following a situated approach and ethnographic method. Her work explores violence between clients and frontline staff, scapegoating in organizations and the negotiation of safety between separate occupational groups. 

References


Abord de Chatillon, E. & Desmarais, C. (2012). Le nouveau management public est-il pathogène? Management international/International Management/Gestiòn Internacional, 16(3), 10–24. doi: 10.7202/1011413ar


Autissier, D., Vandangeon, I. & Vas, A. (2010). Conduite du changement: Concepts-clés: 50 ans de pratiques issues des travaux de 25 grands auteurs. Paris: Dunod.


Ayerbe, C. & Missonier, A. (2007). Validité interne et validité externe de l’étude de cas: Principes et mise en œuvre pour un renforcement mutuel. Finance Contrôle Stratégie, 10(2), 37–62.


Bareil, C., Savoie, A. & Meunier, S. (2007). Patterns of discomfort with organizational change. Journal of Change Management, 7(1), 13–24. doi: 10.1080/14697010701232025


Berkowitz, L. (1962). Aggression: A social psychological analysis, New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.


Boecker, W. (1992). Power and managerial dismissal: Scapegoating at the top. Administrative Science Quarterly, (37), 400–421. doi: 10.2307/​2393450


Bonazzi, G. (1980). Pour une sociologie du bouc émissaire dans les organisations complexes. Sociologie du Travail, 22(22), 300–323. doi: 10.3406/sotra.1980.1640


Bonazzi, G. (1983). Scapegoating in complex organizations: The results of a comparative study of symbolic blame-giving in Italian and French Public Administration. Organization Studies, 4(1), 1–18. doi: 10.1177/017084068300400101


Bourdieu, P. & Passeron, J. C. (1970). La reproduction des éléments pour une théorie du système d’enseignement. Paris: Editions de Minuit.


Bodier, M. & Wolff, L. (2018). Les facteurs psychosociaux de risque au travail. Paris: Editions Octares.


Bouville, G. & Campoy, E. (2012). Une approche organisationnelle du harcèlement moral. @GRH, (3), 53–78. doi: 10.3917/grh.123.0053


Branch, S., Ramsay, S. & Barker, M. (2013). Workplace bullying, mobbing and general harassment: A review. International Journal of Management Reviews, 15(3), 280–299. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2370.2012.00339.x


Casanova, R. (2009). Le phénomène du bouc émissaire, support de l’accompagnement institutionnel. Contradictions, (149). HAL Id: hal-01668749, version 1.


Casanova, R. (2014a). Observatoire du bouc-émissaire et des violences institutionnelles. Retrieved from http://bouc-émissaire.com/


Casanova, R. (2014b). Bouc émissaire. Les Cahiers Dynamiques, 60(2), 37–43. doi: 10.3917/lcd.060.0037


Castel, R. (2009). La Montée des incertitudes. Travail, protections, statut de l’individu: Travail, protections, statut de l’individu. Paris: Le Seuil.


Chabaud, D. & Germain, O. (2006). La réutilisation de données qualitatives en sciences de gestion: Un second choix? M@n@gement, 9(3), 199–221. doi: 10.3917/mana.093.0199


Chappell, D. & Di Martino, V. (2000). La violence au travail. Genève: Bureau International du Travail.


Charreire-Petit, S. & Cusin, J. (2013). Whistleblowing et résilience: Analyse d’une trajectoire individuelle. M@n@gement, 16(2), 142–175. doi: 10.3917/mana.162.0142


Cusin, J. & Maymo, V. (2016). Post-bankruptcy stigmatization of entrepreneurs and bankers’ decisions to finance. M@n@gement, 19(4), 305.


Danniau, S. & Meynckens-Fourez, M. (2015). Bouc émissaire dans les institutions: Pistes pour sortir de ce positionnement. Thérapie Familiale, 36(4), 409–422. doi: 10.3917/tf.154.0409


Daudigeos, T., Pasquier, V. & Valiorgue, B. (2014). Bouc-émissaires, lynchages médiatiques et contestation des pratiques irresponsables des firmes multinationales. Revue de l’Organisation Responsable, 9(2), 46–59. doi: 10.3917/ror.092.0046


Dehue, F., Bolman, C., Völlink, T. & Pouwelse, M. (2012). Coping with bullying at work and health related problems. International Journal of Stress Management, 19(3), 175. doi: 10.1037/a0028969


Desmond, J. & Kavanagh, D. (2003). Organization as containment of acquisitive mimetic rivalry: The contribution of René Girard. Culture & Organization, 9(4), 239–251. doi: 10.1080/1475955042000195427


Detchessahar, M., Gentil, S., Grevin, A. & Stimec, A. (2015). Quels modes d’intervention pour soutenir la discussion sur le travail dans les organisations: Réflexions méthodologiques à partir de l’intervention dans une clinique. @GRH, 16(3), 63–89. doi: 10.3917/grh.153.0063


Di Martino, V., Hoel, H. & Cooper, C. L. (2003). Prévention du harcèlement et de la violence sur le lieu de travail. Office des Publications Officielles des Communautés Européennes.


Dollard, J., Miller, N. E., Doob, L. W., Mowrer, O. H. et al. (1939). Frustration and aggression, Boston, MA: Yale University Press. doi: 10.1037/10022-000


Douglas, T. (1995). Scapegoats: Transferring blame. London: Routledge.


Dumez, H. (2012). Qu’est-ce que l’abduction, et en quoi peut-elle avoir un rapport avec la recherche qualitative? Le Libellio d’Aegis, 8(3), 3–9.


Dumez, H. (2013). Qu’est-ce que la recherche qualitative? Problèmes épistémologiques, méthodologiques et de théorisation. Annales des Mines – Gérer et comprendre, 112(2), 29–42. doi: 10.3917/geco.112.0029


Eagle, J. & Newton, P. M. (1981). Scapegoating in small groups: An organizational approach. Human Relations, 34(4), 283–301. doi: 10.1177/001872678103400403


Favaro, M. (2014). Mécanismes organisationnels de formation des violences au travail. Proposition d’un modèle-cadre pour comprendre et intervenir. Notes scientifiques et techniques de l’INRS, NS 320.


Fenlason, K. J. & Beehr, T. A. (1994). Social support and occupational stress: Effects of talking to others. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 15(2), 157–175. doi: 10.1002/job.4030150205


Frazer, S. J. G. (1981). Le rameau d’or. Paris: Robert Laffont.


Gemmill, G. (1989). The dynamics of scapegoating in small groups. Small Group Research, 20(4), 406–418. doi: 10.1177/104649648902000402


Girard, R. (1972). La violence et le sacré. Paris: Grasset.


Girard, R. (1977). Mensonge romantique et vérité romanesque. Paris: Grasset.


Girard, R. (1982). Le bouc émissaire. Paris: Grasset.


Goffman, E. (1975)[1963]. Stigmate: Les usages sociaux des handicaps. Paris: Les Editions de Minuit.


Gollac, M. & Bodier, M. (2011). Mesurer les facteurs psychosociaux de risque au travail pour les maîtriser (Rapport au collège d’expertise sur le suivi des risques psychosociaux au travail, faisant suite à la demande du ministre du Travail, de l’Emploi et de la Santé, avril 2011). Retrieved from https://www.vie-publique.fr/sites/default/files/rapport/​pdf/114000201.pdf


Greenglass, E. R. (1993). The contribution of social support to coping strategies. Applied Psychology, 42(4), 323–340. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-0597.1993.tb00748.x


Grima, F. & Muller, R. (2006). Faire face à la violence au travail: Le cas de la placardisation. Gérer et Comprendre, 85, 37–48.


Hearn, J. (1994). The organization(s) of violence: Men, gender relations, organizations, and violences. Human Relations, 47(6), 731–754. doi: 10.1177/001872679404700608


Heaton, J. (2004). Reworking qualitative data. London: Sage.


Harbour, M. & Kisfalvi, V. (2014). In the eye of the beholder: An exploration of managerial courage. Journal of Business Ethics, 119(4), 493–515. doi: 10.1007/s10551-013-1835-7


Hirigoyen, M. F. (1998). Le harcèlement moral: La violence perverse au quotidien. Paris: La Découverte.


Hirschman, A. O. (2011/1970). Exit, voice, loyalty: Défection et prise de parole. Bruxelles: Editions de l’Université de Bruxelles.


Hogh, A. & Andrea D. (2001). Coping with bullying in the workplace, European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 10(4), 485–495. doi: 10.1080/13594320143000825


Huyez-Levrat, G. (2007). ‘Jeunes vendeurs’ contre ‘vieux techniciens’, des compétences spécifiques ou des trajectoires divergentes? Formation Emploi, 99(3), 47–60.


INRS (Institut National de Recherche et de Sécurité) (2018/2015). Dossier: Risques Psychosociaux (RPS), disponible en ligne. Retrieved from http://www.inrs.fr/risques/psychosociaux/consequences-salaries.html


Karpman, S. B. (1968). Fairy tales and script drama analysis. Transactional Analysis Bulletin, 7(26), 39–43.


Kuipers, B. S., Higgs, M., Kickert, W., Tummers, L. et al. (2014). The management of change in public organizations: A literature review. Public Administration, 92(1), 1–20. doi: 10.1111/padm.12040


Langley, A. (1999). Strategies for theorizing from process data. The Academy of Management Review, 24(4), 691–710. doi: 10.2307/259349


Lazarus, R. S. (1992). Coping with the stress of illness. WHO Regional Publications. European Series, (44), 11–31.


Lazarus, R. S. & Folkman, S. (1984). Coping and adaptation. In W. D. Gentry (Ed.), The handbook of behavioral medicine (pp. 282–325). New York, NY: Guilford.


Leymann, H. (1996). Mobbing : La persécution au travail. Paris: Seuil.


Lhuilier, D. (2002). Placardisés des exclus dans l’entreprise. Paris: Seuil.


Lincoln, Y. S. & Guba, E. G. (1985). Establishing trustworthiness. Naturalistic Inquiry, 289(331), 289–327.


Linstead, S. (2013). Organizational bystanding: Whistleblowing, watching the work go by or aiding and abetting? M@n@gement, 16(5), 680–696. doi: 10.3917/mana.165.0680


Lutgen-Sandvik, P. (2006). Take this job and…: Quitting and other forms of resistance to workplace bullying. Communication Monographs, 73(4), 406–433. doi: 10.1080/03637750601024156


Malochet, G. (2007). La féminisation des métiers et des professions. Quand la sociologie du travail croise le genre. Sociologies Pratiques, (1), 91–99. doi: 10.3917/sopr.014.0091


Miles, M. B., Huberman, A. M. & Saldana, J. (2013). Qualitative data analysis. London: Sage.


Miossec, Y. (2011). Le métier comme instrument de protection contre les risques psychosociaux au travail: le cas d’ingénieurs managers de proximité. Le Travail Humain 74(4), 341–363. doi: 10.3917/th.744.0341


Moriceau, J. L. (2003). La répétition du singulier : Pour une reprise du débat sur la généralisation à partir d’études de cas. Revue Sciences de Gestion, (36), 113–140.


Mucchielli, L. (2008). Une société plus violente? Déviance et Société, 32(2), 115–147. doi: 10.3917/ds.322.0115


Neuman, J. H. & Baron, R. A. (1998). Workplace violence and workplace aggression: Evidence concerning specific forms, potential causes, and preferred targets. Journal of Management, 24(3), 391–419. doi: 10.1177/014920639802400305


Notelaers, G., De Witte, H. & Einarsen, S. (2010). A job characteristics approach to explain workplace bullying. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 19(4), 487–504. doi: 10.1080/13594320903007620


Paillé, P. & Mucchielli, A. (2005). L’analyse qualitative à l’aide des catégories conceptualisantes. L’analyse qualitative en sciences humaines et sociales. Paris: Armand Collin.


Pezé, S. (2014). Les managers à l’épreuve de la souffrance de leurs collaborateurs : De la compassion à la régulation. La Revue des Conditions de Travail, ANACT, (1), 171–178.


Pichault, F. & Schoenaers, F. (2012). Le middle management sous pression. Revue Internationale de Psychosociologie et de Gestion des Comportements Organisationnels, 18(45), 121–150. doi: 10.3917/rips1.045.0121


Pinto, J. (2014). Expanding the content domain of workplace aggression: A three-level aggressor–target taxonomy. International Journal of Management Reviews, 16(3), 290–313. doi: 10.1111/ijmr.12021


Poilpot-Rocaboy, G. (2000). Le processus du harcèlement professionnel. Revue Française de Gestion, 127, 31–51.


Pruvost, G. (2008). Le cas de la féminisation de la Police nationale. Idées Economiques et Sociales, 153(3), 9–19. doi: 10.3917/idee.153.0009


Reynaud, J. D. (1997/1989). Les règles du jeu. L’action collective et la régulation sociale. Paris: Armand Colin.


Robinson, S. L., O’Reilly, J. & Wang, W. (2013). Invisible at work: An integrated model of workplace ostracism. Journal of Management, 39(1), 203–231. doi: 10.1177/0149206312466141


Rondeau, A. (2008). L’évolution de la pensée en gestion du changement : Leçons pour la mise en œuvre de changements complexes. Télescope, 14(3), 1–12.


Sainsaulieu, R., Francfort, I., Osty, F. & Uhalde, M. (1995). Les mondes sociaux de l’entreprise. Paris: Desclée de Brouwer.


Sandberg, J. (2005). How do we justify knowledge produced within interpretive approaches?. Organizational Research Methods, 8(1), 41–68. doi: 10.1177/1094428104272000


Sekerka, L. E., Bagozzi, R. P. & Charnigo, R. (2009). Facing ethical challenges in the workplace: Conceptualizing and measuring professional moral courage. Journal of Business Ethics, 89(4), 565–595. doi: 10.1007/s10551-008-0017-5


Sigaut, F. (1990). Folie, réel et technologie. Techniques et Culture, 15, 167–179. doi: 10.4000/tc.753


Sirota, A. (2017). Pervers narcissiques : Comprendre, déjouer, surmonter. Paris: Le Manuscrit.


Suddaby, R. (2006). From the editors: What grounded theory is not. Academy of Management Journal, 49(4), 633–642. doi: 10.5465/amj.2006.22083020


Tajfel, H., Billig, M. G., Bundy, R. P. & Flament, C. (1971). Social categorization and intergroup behaviour. European Journal of Social Psychology, 1(2), 149–178. doi: 10.1002/ejsp.2420010202


Tarde, G. (1993)[1890]. Les lois de la contagion imitative. Paris: Kimé Editeur.


Uhalde, M. (2005). Crise de modernisation et dynamique des identités de métier dans les organisations. La Revue de l’Ires, 47(1), 135–154. doi: 10.3917/rdli.047.0135


Uhalde, M. (2016). Crise sociale et transformation des entreprises. Paris: L’Harmattan.


Van de Ven, A. (1992). Suggestions for studying strategy process: A research note. Strategic Management Journal, 13(7), 483–498. doi: 10.1002/smj.4250131013


Wu, L.-Z., Yim, F. H., Kwan, H. K. & Zhang, X. (2012). Coping with workplace ostracism: The roles of ingratiation and political skill in employee psychological distress. Journal of Management Studies, 49(1), 178–199. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6486.2011.01017.x


Yin, R. K. (2009). Case study research: Design and methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.


Zapf, D. & Gross, C. (2001). Conflict escalation and coping with workplace bullying: A replication and extension. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 10(4), 497–522. doi: 10.1080/13594320143000834

Published
2020-06-03
How to Cite
Djabi, M., & Sitte de Longueval, O. (2020). Scapegoating in the Organization: Which Regulation Modes?. M@n@gement, 23(2), 1-19. https://doi.org/10.37725/mgmt.v23i2.4871
Section
Original Research Articles