For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"The dark side of deeply meaningful work: Work‐relationship turmoil and the moderating role of occupational value homophily"

by Oelberger, Carrie R (2019)


How are close personal relationships experienced by people in deeply meaningful work? Drawing upon in-depth interview data with 82 international aid workers, I offer three distinct contributions. First, I find that people who experience their work as deeply meaningful have high work devotion. I identify boundary inhibition as a mechanism to explain why they participate more willingly in overwork and erratic work, despite giving rise to time- and trust-based conflict in their relationships. Second, I find that people with high work devotion often also experience emotional distance in their personal relationships when their close others don?t value their work ? a context I call occupational value heterophily. This disconnection-based conflict compounds the time- and trust-based conflict and engenders an emotionally agonizing situation, which I call work-relationship turmoil. Third, when close others do value their partner?s work ? a context I call occupational value homophily ? it fosters an emotional connection and offers an avenue for work-relationship enrichment. These findings draw upon deeply meaningful work to detail the multi-faceted work-relationship experience among those with high work devotion.


Working Relationships, Meanfinfull Work, Working Conditions, Worker Satisfaction, Worker Happiness


Meaningful Work

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