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June 7, 2016 / Sian Moore

What Makes Work Meaningful — Or Meaningless

The study by researchers at the University of Sussex and the University of Greenwich shows that quality of leadership receives virtually no mention when people describe meaningful moments at work, but poor management is the top destroyer of meaningfulness.The study was carried out by Professor Katie Bailey, an employee engagement expert at Sussex’s School of Business, Management and Economics, and Dr Adrian Madden of Greenwich’s business school.

The researchers interviewed 135 people working in 10 very different occupations, from priests to garbage collectors, to ask about incidents or times when the workers found their work to be meaningful and, conversely, times when they asked themselves, “What’s the point of doing this job?”. They expected to find that meaningfulness would be similar to other work-related attitudes, such as engagement or commitment, in that it would arise purely in response to situations within the work environment. However, they found that, unlike these other attitudes, meaningfulness tended to be intensely personal and individual; it was often revealed to employees as they reflected on their work and its wider contribution to society in ways that mattered to them as individuals. People tended to speak of their work as meaningful in relation to thoughts or memories of significant family members such as parents or children, bridging the gap between work and the personal realm. They also expected meaningfulness to be a relatively enduring state of mind experienced by individuals toward their work; instead, their interviewees talked of unplanned or unexpected moments during which they found their work deeply meaningful.

More information about the research can be found on the following link: https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/research-mit-sloan-management-review-174539149.html

 

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