Meaningful Work

Every member of the working population spends their time at work: eight hours a day on average, for a total of forty weeks a year, for almost forty years. Given these figures, it is not surprising that alienating, dehumanizing feelings of boredom and disconnection from work can emerge. These consequences can have detrimental effects on both organizations and their employees. Added to these dynamics is the fact that the world of work is rapidly changing. Working conditions (e.g., contractual forms, precariousness, etc.) and remuneration aspects are essential in shaping workplace dynamics and processes. Making sense of one’s work about these and various other elements (such as employment in unstructured and unstable jobs, individuals marginalized by disability, gender, and racial differences) poses a significant challenge for organizations (Allan, Tebbe, Bouchard, & Duffy, 2018). The meaning of work is, according to literature, the perception that one’s actions have meaning and how one’s personal experience of one’s work makes sense of one’s characteristics and values (Rosso, Dekas, & Wrzesniewski, 2010).

Individuals have different opinions and ideas about what it means to perceive one’s work to have meaning. In general, following the current literature, one speaks of the importance to/of one’s work in terms of one’s work is necessary, helpful to oneself and others, and/or socially recognized as such (May, Gilson, & Harter, 2004; Pratt, 2003; Rosso et al., 2010). The meaning of one’s work is an antecedent to many organizational processes. Not having a menaning of one’s actions negatively affects worker well-being, performance, team climate, work engagement, etc. Through the lens of work and organizational psychology theories, the present line of research turns to understand the factors involved in processing meaning. The focus is on what antecedents are conducive to its emergence and consequences. This line of research aims to understand this construct and define how it can be intervened within organizations to improve working conditions. Nowadays, the processes and dynamics that characterize the world of work are constantly changing, underscoring the need for a commitment to the worker dimension and the restitution of meaning.

All scientific publications of the Research Center related to this field of research are available at the following link.

Allan, B. A., Tebbe, E. A., Bouchard, L. M., & Duffy, R. D. (2018). Access to Decent and Meaningful Work in a Sexual Minority Population. Journal of Career Assessment, 1–14.,
D. R., Gilson, R. L., & Harter, L. M. (2004). The psychological condition of meaningfulness, safety and availability and the engangement of the human spirit at work. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 77, 11–37. Retrieved from
Pratt, M. G. (2003). Fostering meaningfulness in working and meaningfulness at work : An identity perspective In K . S . Cameron , J . E . Dutton , & R . E . Quinn ( Eds .). 2003.
Positive Organizational Scholarship : Foundations of a New Discipline : 309-327 . San Francisco, (February 2017).
Rosso, B. D., Dekas, K. H., & Wrzesniewski, A. (2010). On the meaning of work: A theoretical integration and review. Research in Organizational Behavior, 30(C), 91–127.