Meaningful Work

Every member of the working population spends 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 disengagement from work can arise. These consequences can be detrimental to both organizations and their employees. In addition to these dynamics, the world of work is changing rapidly. Working conditions (e.g. contractual forms, precariousness, etc.) and remuneration aspects are essential in shaping workplace dynamics and processes. Making sense of work in relation to these and various other elements (e.g., employment in unstructured and insecure work, individuals marginalized by disability, gender, and racial differences) is a major challenge for organizations (Allan, Tebbe, Bouchard, & Duffy, 2018). Meaning of work, according to the literature, is the perception that one’s actions have meaning and how one’s personal experience of 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 as meaningful. In general, following the current literature, one speaks of the importance of one’s work in terms of one’s work being 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 of many organizational processes. The lack of meaning in one’s work negatively affects employee well-being, performance, team climate, and work engagement. Through the lens of work and organizational psychology theories, the present line of research turns to understanding 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 in organizations to improve working conditions. Today, 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 restoration of meaning.

All the scientific publications of the Research Center related to this area 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.