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date: 15 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the connections between belonging, meaningful work, and the ability of people to fulfill their potential. Drawing on the nexus of two core human qualities, the social and the productive, it is proposed that meaningful work constitutes an arena of practice where this sense of belonging is evoked. Belonging can arise from being part of a group or team at work, where acknowledgment and recognition arise. Although psychological studies have not focused extensively on the construct of belonging, research has examined similar notions such as relatedness, social support, and psychological ownership. However, changes in the workplace such as the growing flexibilization of work and growing economism pose challenges to experiencing belonging and meaningfulness. The chapter outlines the potential “dark side” to belonging, such as the risk of over-identification, the propensity to unethical behaviors, and manipulative managerial strategies.

Keywords: meaningful work, belonging, relatedness, recognition, psychological ownership, over-identification

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