Stigma Hurts: Exploring Employer and Employee Perceptions of Tattoos and Body Piercings in Nigeria

Article


Adisa, T., Adekoya, O. and Sani, K. 2021. Stigma Hurts: Exploring Employer and Employee Perceptions of Tattoos and Body Piercings in Nigeria. Career Development International. 26 (2), pp. 217-237. https://doi.org/10.1108/CDI-09-2020-0239
AuthorsAdisa, T., Adekoya, O. and Sani, K.
Abstract

Purpose – This study draws on social stigma and prejudice to examine the perceptions and beliefs of managers and employees regarding visible tattoos and body piercings, as well as the impact they have on potential employment and human resource management in the global South, using Nigeria as the research context.
Design/methodology/approach – The study uses a qualitative research approach, drawing on data from forty-three semi-structured interviews with managers and employees in Nigeria.
Findings – Contrary to the popular opinion that tattoos and body piercings are becoming more accepted and mainstream in society, this study finds that some Nigerian employers and employees may stigmatise and discriminate against people with visible tattoos and body piercings. The findings of this study suggest that beliefs about tattoos are predicated on ideologies as well as religious and sociocultural values, which then influence corporate values.
Practical Implications – Religious and sociocultural preconceptions about people with visible tattoos and body piercings have negative implications for the recruitment and employment of such people and could prevent organisations from hiring and keeping talented employees. This implies that talented employees might experience prejudice at job interviews, preventing them from gaining employment. Furthermore, stigmatising and discriminating against people with visible tattoos and body piercings may lead to the termination of employment of talented employees, which could negatively affect organisational productivity and growth.
Originality/value – This study provides an insight into employment relations with regards to tattoos and body piercings in Nigeria. It also makes some contributions to the social psychology of workplace prejudice and highlights the reasons for the stigma and prejudice against individuals with visible tattoos and body piercings.

JournalCareer Development International
Journal citation26 (2), pp. 217-237
ISSN1362-0436
Year2021
PublisherEmerald Publishing Limited
Accepted author manuscript
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File Access Level
Anyone
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1108/CDI-09-2020-0239
Publication dates
Online15 Mar 2021
Publication process dates
Accepted23 Feb 2021
Deposited23 Feb 2021
Copyright holder© 2021 Emerald Publishing Limited
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