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Effects of Workplace Discrimination and Microaggressions on Minority Veterans’ Overall Job Satisfaction with Their Military Career: A Qualitative Study

25 June 2018


Microaggressions are a form of workplace discrimination that include brief verbal, behavioral, and environmental indignities that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative slights and insults to a marginalized target person or group. This qualitative study examined the previously unexplored area of microaggressions directed toward veterans during their time in service, and the impact on their overall job satisfaction with their military career. Through the use of semi-structured individual interviews, 7 self-identifying minority veterans shared their experiences of racist, sexist, and/or heterosexist microaggressions. Data were collected and analyzed using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis, a rigorous method of qualitative inquiry that involves the detailed examination of individual lived experience and how individuals make sense of that experience. Results identified 7 major themes experienced by participants: (1) “Culture of fuck that person over before they fuck you” (Microassaults), (2) “You can’t handle this” (Microinsults), (3) “That’s just the way it is—deal with it” (Microinvalidations), (4) “The Emotionally Homeless” (Impact of Microaggressions on the Individual), (5) “The Path of Least Resistance” (Ways of Coping), (6) “Who do I report to?” (Impact of Microaggressions on the Organization), and (7) “A Love-Hate Relationship” (Job Satisfaction with Military Career). Results supported broad domains of microaggressions previously identified in the literature. Findings also supported the Exit-Voice-Loyalty-Neglect framework, a theoretical model developed to illustrate the consequences of job dissatisfaction, in that participants reported engaging in a combination of these behaviors in response to microaggressions.


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