Learning of Quiet Injustice at Workplace

Kyoungjin Jang-Tucci  

Learning of Quiet Injustice at Workplace: A Hermeneutic Phenomenological Approach on College Interns’ Experiences of Injustice 

This presentation will report findings from a recent study on college interns’ experiences of injustice in workplaces. I draw on interview data from 11 college students with internship experiences to explore their sensemaking process on injustice experiences at work. I first introduce two concepts – organizational (in)justice and sensemaking – as theoretical lenses for studying college interns’ experiences of injustice at work. Subsequently, I discuss peripherality and liminality as the unique dispositions of college interns in workplaces that may shape their injustice experiences. Using hermeneutic phenomenology, I explore how students make sense of unfair situations they encounter, taking into consideration of my and participants’ own preunderstandings and contexts. The study findings suggest that students encounter implicit and normalized practices of injustice in workplaces, and seek to make sense of the injustice experiences. However, as peripheral and liminal beings at their workplaces, interns find it difficult to discuss their experiences with their supervisors or coworkers. Therefore, interns seek help from outside of their internship sites, such as older family members and friends. From these sensemaking processes, college interns acknowledge the prevalence of injustice in the world of work and prepare themselves for potential encounters of injustice in the future. This presentation will inform the audience by introducing new findings on the darker sides of college internships and connecting them to the implications of supporting students’ development through internships.

10:00 – 10:50 am
Room 209