Apple-polishers, ass-kissers and suck-ups

Towards a sociology of ingratiation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this paper we use one form of communicative action, "brownnosing", as a social lens for understanding power relations in both formal, organizational contexts and interpersonal relationships. We investigate this phenomenon by assessing processes of ingratiation at school and work settings. We do so using data collected from over one hundred student respondents to ascertain the meanings, uses, and outcomes of brownnosing. The study finds that members of the "millennial generation" develop skills in both the act of brownnosing and the detection of this form of communication as they participate in a variety of contexts, including family, school, work, and interpersonal relationships. Utilizing power-dependence models for analysis, our data suggest that brownnosing, as an organizational resource, commonly reflects the structural arrangements of both school and the workplace. We draw upon organizational and exchange theories in the interpretation of the data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalQualitative Report
Volume17
Issue number34
StatePublished - Aug 20 2012

Fingerprint

Sociology
Equidae
Malus
sociology
school
communicative action
exchange theory
Workplace
Lenses
data analysis
workplace
Communication
Students
interpretation
communication
resources
student
Power (Psychology)

Keywords

  • Brownnosing
  • Hierarchy
  • Ingratiation
  • Organizational culture
  • Power
  • Power-dependence
  • Qualitative research

Cite this

Apple-polishers, ass-kissers and suck-ups : Towards a sociology of ingratiation. / Martin, Daniel D; Wilson, Janelle L.

In: Qualitative Report, Vol. 17, No. 34, 20.08.2012.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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