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Title:Finding and Losing Meaning: Understanding Change in Employee Meaning of Work
Author(s):Vough, Heather C.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Pratt, Michael
Department / Program:Business Administration
Discipline:Business Administration
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Industrial
Abstract:Meaning of work is an important topic in organizational studies because how people relate to their work can influence workplace attitudes and behaviors. However, despite a long history of research on meaning of work, an agreed-upon theoretical framework of meaning is yet to emerge. Further, while there is acknowledgement that meaning-making is an on-going and dynamic process, there is little research that has investigated what processes employees actually use to construct the meaning in their work. In response to these gaps, the purpose of this dissertation is to develop and empirically verify a theoretical framework for understanding meaning of work and to build theory concerning meaning of work change. The results of a longitudinal qualitative case study of 31 employees of a large architecture firm support a self-concept based framework for understanding meaning of work. Further, the data enabled me to develop a conceptual model of how employees construct meaning in their work. Specifically, I describe how employees who perceive a threat to their involvement in the work can use a number of processes to perceive their work as meaningful or meaningless. In addition, the findings point to some patterns in changes in meaning-making processes across the career. Finally, I spotlight the role of narrative creation in determining meaning. I conclude with a discussion of the findings and their practical implications.
Issue Date:2008
Description:267 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2008.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3314927
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2008

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