pisco_log
banner

Antecedents and Multi-level Benefits of Work Meaningfulness Perceptions of Nigerian Managers

Constantine Imafidon Tongo

Abstract


Work meaningfulness has gained currency in contemporary work motivation literature because it has the capacity to confer certain benefits on employees, organizations and the larger society. Given the beneficial outcomes of work meaningfulness, it becomes expedient to know the extent to which its antecedents relate with these outcomes. Towards exploring this knowledge gap, this article hypothesizes that different antecedents of work meaningfulness (i.e. “need to develop and become self”, “need to serve others”, “need to unite with others” and “need to express full potential”) correspond with its beneficial outcomes at multiple (i.e. individual, organizational and societal) levels of human existence; and that the direct benefits of work meaningfulness are quite pervasive. These hypotheses were tested through a cross sectional study involving the perceptions of two hundred and sixteen Nigerian managers employed by different organizations. Results from structural equation and regression models showed that apart from the inconsequential organizational and societal benefits attributable to the “need to develop and become self”; the other antecedents of work meaningfulness were significantly beneficial at all levels. Although, each antecedent separately had significant impact on work meaningfulness, multiple and hierarchical regression analyses unveiled the intra-psychic tensions between “need to unite with others” and “need to express full potential”; as the positive effect of the former on work meaningfulness was terribly undermined by the latter. Moreover, the direct impact of work meaningfulness on benefits to employees, organizations and society was also significantly positive.  The ethical and future research implications of these findings were discussed. 


Keywords


Employees; Organization; Work Meaningfulness; Work Motivation; Society

Full Text:

PDF

References


Arbuckle, J. (2006). Amos (version 7.0) Computer Program, Chicago, IL: SPSS.

Ashforth, B. and Mael, F. (1989).“Social Identity Theory and the Organization”, Academy of Management Review, Vol. 14, No. 1: 20-39.

Barrick, M.; Mount, M.; and Li, N. (2013). “The Theory of Purposeful Work Behaviour: The Role of Personality, Job Characteristics and Experienced Meaningfulness”, Academy of Management Review, Vol. 38, No. 1: 132-153.

Baumeister, R.; and Vohs, K. (2002). “The Pursuit of Meaningfulness in Life” In Snyder, C. and Lopez, S. (eds.). The Handbook of Positive Psychology, 608-618pp. New York: Oxford University Press.

Beadle, R. and Knight, K. (2012).“Virtue and Meaningful Work”, Business Ethics Quarterly, Vol. 22, No. 2: 433-450.

Bowie, N. (1998). “A Kantian Theory of Meaningful Work”, Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 17: 1083-1092.

Bunderson, J. and Thompson, J. (2009). “The Call of the Wild: Zoo Keepers, Callings and the Double Edged Sword of Deeply Meaningful Work”, Administrative Science Quarterly, Vol. 54, No. 1: 32-57.

Campbell, A., Converse, P., Rodgers, W. (1976). The Quality of American Life: Perceptions, Evaluations and Satisfaction, New York: Russell Sage.

Cardador, M.; Dane, E.; and Pratt, M. (2011). “Linking Calling Orientations To Organizational Attachment Via Organizational Instrumentality, Journal of Vocational Behaviour, Vol. 79, No. 2: 367-378.

Cascio, W. (2003). “Responsible Restructuring: Seeing Employees as Assets, Not Costs”, Ivey Business Journal, Vol. 68: 1-5.

Chalofsky, N. (2003). “An Emerging Construct For Meaningful Work “, Human Resource Development International, Vol. 6, No. 1: 69-83.

Chattopadhyay, P., Tluchowska, M., and George, E. (2004).“Identifying the In-group: A Closer Look at the Influence of Demographic Dissimilarity on Employee Social Identity”, Academy of Management Review, Vol. 29, No. 2: 180-202.

Dobrow, S. (2006).“The Dark Side of Calling: Career Tunnel Vision”, Paper Presented at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting.

Durkheim, E. (1984). The Division of Labour in Society, New York: Free press.

Dyck, B.; Caza, A.; Starke, F. (2018). Management: Financial, Social and Ecological Well-Being, Manitoba: Sapajo Publishing.

Elangovan, A.; Pinder, C. and McLean, M. (2010).“Callings and Organizational Behaviour”, Journal of Vocational Behaviour, Vol. 76: 428-440.

Ellemers, N., Gilder, D., and Haslam, S. (2004). “Motivating Individuals and Groups at Work: A Social Identity Perspective on Leadership and Group Performance”, Academy of Management Review, Vol. 29, No. 3: 459-478.

Frankl, V. (1992).Man’s Search for Meaning: An Introduction to logo-therapy, Boston: Beacon.

Gini, A. (2003). The Importance of Being Lazy: In Praise of Play, Leisure, and Vacations, New York: Routledge.

Grant, A. (2007). “Relational Job Design and the Motivation to Make a Pro-social Difference”, Academy of Management Review, Vol. 32: 393-417.

Grant, A. (2008). “The Significance of Task Significance: Job Performance Effects, Relational Mechanisms, and Boundary Conditions”, Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 93, No. 1: 108-124.

Grant, A.; Dutton, J.; and Rosso, B. (2008).“Giving Commitment: Employee Support Programs and the Pro-social Sense making Process”, Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 51, No. 5: 898-918.

Hackman, J. and Oldman, G. (1976).“Motivation Through the Design of Work: Test of a Theory”, Organizational Behaviour and Human Performance, Vol. 16: 250-279.

Hackman, J. and Oldman, G. (1980).Work Redesign, Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

Hair, J.; Black, W.; Babin, B.; and Anderson, R. (2009). Multivariate Data Analysis, 7th Edition, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Hogg, M. (1992).The Social Psychology of Group Cohesiveness: From Attraction to Social Identity, New York: Harvester-Wheatsheaf

Homans, G. (1958). “Social Behaviour as Exchange”, American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 63: 597-606.

Kahn, W. (1990). “Psychological Conditions of Personal Engagement and Disengagement at Work”, Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 33: 692-724.

Kanfer, R. and Ackerman, P. (2004).“Aging, Adult Development, and Work Motivation”, Academy of Management Review, Vol. 29, No. 3: 440-458.

Kant, I. (1994). “Metaphysical Principles of Virtue” in Ellington, J. (ed.), Immanuel Kant Ethical Philosophy, Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 43p, 2nd Edition.

Korotkov, D. (1998). “The Sense of Coherence: Making Sense Out of Chaos”, in Wong, P. and Fry, P. (eds.), The Human Quest for Meaning: A Handbook of Psychological Research and Clinical Applications, Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Langle, A. (2003). “Burn-out, Existential Meaning and Possibilities of Prevention”, European Psychotherapy, Vol. 4, No. 1: 129-143.

Leiter, M.; Harvie, P.; and Frizzel, C. (1998).“The Correspondence of Patient Satisfaction and Nurse Burnout”, Social Science and Medicine, Vol. 47: 1611-1617.

Lips-Wiersma, M. and Morris, L. (2009). “Discriminating Between ‘Meaningful Work’ and the “Management of Meaning”, Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 88, No. 3: 491-511.

Lips-Wiersma, M. and Wright, S. (2012). “Measuring the Meaning of Meaningful Work: Development and Validation of the Comprehensive Meaningful Work Scale (CMWS), Group and Organization Management,Vol. 37, No. 5: 655-685.

Martin, M. (2000).Meaningful Work: Rethinking Professional Ethics, New York: Oxford University Press.

May, D. (2003). “Fostering the Human Spirit at Work: Toward an Understanding of the Influences on Employees’ Experienced Meaningfulness at Work”, Unpublished Manuscript.

May, D.; Gilson, L.; and Harter, L. (2004). “The Psychological Conditions of Meaningfulness, Safety, Availability and the Engagement of the Human Spirit at Work”, Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, Vol. 77: 11-37.

Meyer, J., Becker, T., Van-Dick, R. (2006).“Social Identities and Commitments at Work: Toward an Integrative Model”, Journal of Organizational Behaviour, Vol. 27, No. 5: 665-683.

Michaelson, C. (2005). “Meaningful Motivation For Work Motivation Theory”, Academy of Management Review, Vol. 30, No. 2: 235-238.

Michaelson, C. (2008). “Work and the Most Terrible Life”, Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 77, No. 3: 335-345.

Michaelson, C.; Pratt, M.; Grant, A.; and Dunn, C. (2014).“Meaningful Work: Connecting Business Ethics and Organization Studies”, Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 121: 77-90.

Monroe, K. (1996). The Heart of Altruism: Perceptions of a Common Humanity, Princeton: N.J: Princeton University Press.

Munn, S. (2013). “Unveiling the Work-Life System: The Influence of Work-Life Balance on Meaningful Work”, Advances in Developing Human Resources, Vol. 15, No. 4: 401-417.

Nash, L. and Stevenson, H. (2004).Just Enough: Tools for Creating Success in Your Work and Life, Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons.

Orife, J.; Gibbs, M.; and Mohamed, A. (2002). “The Adoption of Western Management Models in Africa: The Need for Motivation”, Nigeria Management Review, Vol. 13, Nos. 1-2: 958-966.

Pallant, J. (2000). “Development and Validation of a Scale to Measure Perceive Control of Internal States”, Journal of Personality Assessment, Vol. 75, No. 2: 308-337.

Perry, J. (1997). “Antecedents of Public Service Motivation”, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Vol. 7, No. 2: 181-197.

Perry, J. (2000). “Bringing Society In: Toward a Theory of Public Service Motivation”, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Vol. 10, No. 2: 471-488.

Pines, M. (2002).“The Female Entrepreneur: Burnout Using a Psychodynamic Existential Approach”, Clinical Case Studies, Vol. 1, No. 2: 170-180.

Podsakoff, P.; MacKenzie, S.; and Lee, J. (2003). “Common Method Biases in Behavioral Research: A Critical Review of the Literature and Recommended Remedies”, Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 88. No. 5: 879-903.

Pratt, M. and Ashforth, B. (2003). “Fostering Meaningfulness in Working and At Work” In Cameron, J. and Quinn, R. (eds.) Positive Organizational Scholarship, San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.

Pratt, M.; Rockmann, K.; and Kaufmann, J. (2006). “Constructing Professional Identity: The Role of Work and Identity Learning Cycles in the Customization of Identity Among Medical Residents, Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 49, No. 2: 235-262.

Purvanova, R.; Bono, J.; and Dzieweczynski, J. (2006). “Transformational Leadership, Job Characteristics, and Organizational Citizenship Performance, Human Performance, Vol. 19: 1-22.

Rosso, B.; Dekas, K.; and Wrzesniewski, A. (2010). “On the Meaning of Work: A Theoretical Integration and Review”, Research in Organizational Behaviour, Vol. 30: 91-127.

Schnell, T. (2011). “Individual Differences in Meaning Making: Considering the Variety of Sources of Meaning, Their Density and Diversity”, Personality and Individual Differences, Vol. 51: 667-673.

Schor, J. (1992). The Overworked American, New York: Basic Books.

Scroggins, W. (2008). “Antecedents and Outcomes of Experienced Meaningful Work: A Person-Job Fit Perspective”, Journal of Business Inquiry: Research, Education and Application, Vol. 7, No. 1: 68-78.

Sheldon, K. and Elliott, A. (1998). “Goal Striving, Need Satisfaction and Longitudinal Well- Being: The Self Concordance Model”, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 76: 482-497.

Sheldon, K.; Ryan, R.; Rawathorne, L.; and Ilardi, B. (1997). “Trait Self and True Self: Cross-Role Variation in the Big Five Personality Traits and Its Relations With Psychological Authenticity and Subjective Well Being, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 73: 1380-1393.

Sirgy, J.; Efraty, D.; Siegel, P.; and Lee, D. (2001). “A New Measure of Quality of Work Life (QWL) Based on Need Satisfaction and Spillover Theories”, Social Indicators Research, Vol. 55, No. 3: 241-302.

Soane, E.; Shantz, A.; Alfes, K.; Truss, C.; Rees, C. and Gatenby, M. (2013).“The Association of Meaningfulness, Well Being, and Engagement With Absenteeism: A Moderated Mediation Model”, Human Resource Management, Vol. 52, No. 3: 441-456.

Sparks, J. and Schenk, J. (2001).“Explaining the Effects of Transformational Leadership: An Investigation of the Effects of Higher-Order Motives in Multilevel Marketing Organizations”, Journal of Organizational Behaviour, Vol. 22: 849-869.

Spreitzer, G. (1995). “Psychological Empowerment in the Work Place: Dimensions, Measurement, and Validation”, Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 38: 1442-1465.

Spreitzer, G.; Sutcliffe, K.; Dutton, J.; Sonenshein, S.; Grant, A. (2005).“A Socially Embedded Model of Thriving At Work”, Organization Science, Vol. 16, No. 5: 537-549.

Tummers, L. and Knies, E. (2013).“Leadership and Meaningful Work in the Public Sector”, Public Administration Review, Vol. 73, No. 6: 859-868.

Weick, K. (1995). Sense Making in Organizations, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

Werner, A. (2008). “The Influence of Christian Identity on SME Owner-Managers’ Conceptualizations of Business Practice”, Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 82: 449-462.

Williams, L. and Anderson, S. (1991).“Job Satisfaction and Organizational Commitment as Predictors of Organizational Citizenship and In-Role Behaviours”, Journal of Management, Vol. 17, No. 3: 601-617.

Wilson, J. (1995). The Moral Sense, New York: Free Press.

Wolf, S. (2010). Meaning in Life and Whyit Matters, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Wrzesniewski, A. (2003). “Finding Positive Meaning in work” In Cameron, K.; Dutton, J.; and Quinn, R. (eds.), Positive Organizational Scholarship, San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

Wrzesniewski, A.; McCauley, C.; Rozin, P.; and Schwart , B. (1997). “Jobs, Careers and Callings: People’s Relations to Their Work”, Journal of Research in Psychology, Vol. 31: 21-33.

Yeoman, R. (2014). “Conceptualizing Meaningful Work as a Fundamental Human Need”, Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 125: 235-251.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18282/i-m.v1i1.204

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.