- Copyright Page
- List of Figures
- List of Tables
- List of Contributors
- Introduction and Overview
- The Moral Conditions of Work
- Dignity and Meaningful Work
- Meaningful Work and Freedom: Self-realization, Autonomy, and Non-domination in Work
- Work, Meaning, and Virtue
- Work and the Meaning of Being
- To Have Lived Well: Well-being and Meaningful Work
- Do We Have to Do Meaningful Work?
- Identity and Meaningful/Meaningless Work
- Self-transcendence and Meaningful Work
- “Belonging” and its Relationship to the Experience of Meaningful Work
- Exploring work Orientations and Cultural Accounts of Work: Toward a Research Agenda for Examining the Role of Culture in Meaningful Work
- Meaning in Life and in Work
- Meanings and Dirty Work: A Study of Refuse Collectors and Street Cleaners
- Finding Meaning in the Work of Caring
- Exploring Meaningful Work in the Third Sector
- Does My Engagement Matter?: Exploring the Relationship Between Employee Engagement and Meaningful Work in Theory and Practice
- Work Through a Gender Lens: More Work and More Sources of Meaningfulness
- Leadership and Meaningful Work
- Fostering the Human Spirit: A Positive Ethical Framework for Experiencing Meaningfulness at Work
- Direct Participation and Meaningful Work: The Implications of Task Discretion and Organizational Participation
- Accounting for Meaningful Work
- Meaningful Work and Family: How does the Pursuit of Meaningful Work Impact one’s Family?
- Does Corporate Social Responsibility Enhance Meaningful Work?: A Multi-perspective Theoretical Framework
- Cultural, National,and Individual Diversity and their Relationship to the Experience of Meaningful Work
- Bringing Political Economy Back In: A Comparative Institutionalist Perspective on Meaningful Work
- The Meaningful City: Toward a Theory of Public Meaningfulness, City Institutions, and Civic Work
Abstract and Keywords
This chapter introduces a positive ethical framework for supporting the experience of meaningfulness at work. Three specific virtues are conceptually linked to meaningfulness (humanity, courage, and transcendence) and a number of character strengths that these encompass (such as morality, gratitude, and spirituality). It is argued that experiencing meaningfulness is more likely to result in the experience of positive emotions, contributing to a positive ethical culture at work and producing a “virtuous upwards spiral” of positive agency. Positive emotions attract more support and facilitate positive social relations inside and outside the workplace. Evidence about the links between meaningfulness and volunteering are explored in turn to consider what organizations might do to foster positive work culture. The chapter recognizes the potential for conflict and paradox between virtues and character strengths. However, even paradoxes and conflicts of this kind can generate positive experiences.
Douglas R. May received his PhD from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and is a professor and the Bob Billings Director of the Center for Positive Ethics in Business at the University of Kansas. His research interests include positive organizational scholarship topics and ethical decision-making. Most recently, he has been exploring the meaningfulness experienced in client–regulatory interactions, the ethics surrounding meaningful work, and the ethical determinants and outcomes of job crafting. In his leisure time, he enjoys his cats, native plant gardening, and visiting botanical gardens.
Jiatian (JT) Chen is an Assistant Professor of Human Resource Management at California State University, Bakersfield. The work of this chapter was completed while he was a PhD student at the University of Kansas. His current research includes career calling, meaningfulness at work, and organizational climates. For leisure, he enjoys running and traveling.
Catherine E. Schwoerer received her PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. An Associate Professor in the School of Business at the University of Kansas, her research interests include careers, learning, and well-being. She teaches organizational behavior, training, research methods, and business sustainability. Enthusiasms beyond academic life include cats, bees, and books.
Matthew D. Deeg is a PhD student in management at the University of Kansas, with an emphasis on organizational behavior. His research interests include positive organizational scholarship, the work/non-work interface, and the influence of multiple roles on human functioning and flourishing. He enjoys reading, refereeing soccer, cooking, and the company of his cats in his leisure time.
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