Palestinian Arabs and Jews at Work: Workplace Encounters in a War-Torn Country and the Grassroots Strategy of ‘Split Ascription’

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


What are the workplace manifestations of ongoing ethno-national conflict? How do co-workers on rival sides in war-torn countries cope with these manifestations? Interviews with nurses, nursing assistants and physicians in a Palestinian-Arab hospital and in a Jewish retirement home reveal how the broader ethno-national conflict in Israel penetrates the workplace. Problems arise for them when violence related to the conflict erupts outside the workplace and when patients express racist views during interactions with medical staff. This study finds that staff members respond with ‘split ascription’, a grassroots coping strategy that differentiates between a cooperative work environment and discriminatory structural elements of the employing organization. Split ascription challenges existing theories of interethnic relations in the workplace, as it combines both interactional and structural elements within a single coping strategy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)831-849
Number of pages19
JournalWork, Employment and Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the Israel Science Foundation, agreement # 667/10.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2017.


  • contact theory
  • diversity management
  • ethnicity and work
  • micro–macro link
  • split ascription
  • structural discrimination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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