- 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 adopts a critical stance towards meaningful work and leadership theory and asks whether it is feasible or desirable for leaders to be positioned as architects of purpose and meaning. Work is, for many, a dissatisfying experience with little opportunity for voice and agency, rather than constituting a source of fulfillment and meaning. Leadership theories fail to account for leaders’ lack of authority over meaning-making for their followers. Leaders may end up threatening rather than strengthening employees’ existing sense of meaningfulness, since employees may not “buy in” to the dominant discourse and goals of the organization or the leader. Spiritual leadership approaches adopt a unitarist notion that leaders are uniquely placed to provide employees with a sense of meaningfulness, which fails to take account of the potential “dark side” of managing meaning. For many, meaningfulness may arise from resistance to prevailing ideologies.
Dennis Tourish is Professor of Leadership and Organization Studies at the University of Sussex. He is the editor of the journal Leadership. He is also the author of The Dark Side of Leadership: A Critical Perspective, published in 2013, and is currently working on a new book entitled How Management Research Lost its Way, due to be published in 2019. He is currently conducting research into research fraud and malpractice in management studies, economics, and psychology.
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