For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Exploring Work Orientations and Cultural Accounts of Work: Toward a Research Agenda for Examining the Role of Culture in Meaningful Work"

by Boova, Laura; Pratt, Michael G; Lepisto, Douglas A (2019)


Work orientations and cultural accounts of work are important dimensions of the meaningful work literature. This chapter addresses the question of what makes work worth doing, arguing that accounts of meaningfulness should be more closely based in societal culture and the dominant work orientations manifest in varying cultural settings. It differentiates between a “realization” perspective on meaningful work which emphasizes need fulfillment, and a “justification” perspective which involves the ability to account for one’s work as worthy. This is particularly relevant for understanding how culture influences meaningful work through fostering orientations that promote a sense of meaningfulness. Culture can “push” individuals by promoting specific cultural values and beliefs, or alternatively enable individuals to “pull” particular perspectives from a range of options. Individuals can also create a shift in cultural meanings at the collective level. Some important unanswered questions about meaningful work are identified, to guide future researchers in the field.


Meaningful Work, Culture, Values, Self-Realisation


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