The Session

The Meaning of Work
Do you find your work meaningful? Why (or why not)? And does it matter? Research tells us that the quest for meaning in work is a natural human impetus and is linked with important outcomes, but it also tells us that many people fail to find much meaning in what they do. Moreover, organisations and managers seem to get in the way of meaning rather than create environments that foster a sense of meaningfulness.

In this session we will zoom in and explore together what meaningful work looks like. We will consider the seven deadly sins often committed by managers that undermine a sense of meaning in contrast with an ecosystem that encourages a holistic approach to meaningfulness. Finally, we will zoom out and question the future for meaningfulness in light of the fundamental changes affecting work today.

The Speaker

Katie Bailey is Professor of Work and Employment at King’s Business School, King’s College London. She is fascinated by work in all its forms. Her research aims to shed light on what work means to people and why. Her studies on employee engagement, strategic HRM and meaningful work have been published in many journals such as the Harvard Business Review, Sloan Management Review and Academy of Management Perspectives as well as books and the media. She is Co-Editor of the Oxford Handbook of Meaningful Work (OUP, 2019) and Lead Editor of Employee Engagement in Theory and
Practice (Routledge, 2014). Katie has a PhD from London Business School and she is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, HEA, RSA and CIPD as well as an Honorary Fellow at the Institute for Employment Studies. She has held a number of editorial posts and, from January 2020, will be Co-Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Management Reviews. Katie often speaks at conferences and workshops challenging people to think about whether their own work is meaningful, and what they can do to help create meaningful workplaces. She is currently building a consortium of organisations to co-create an in-depth study of purpose and meaning at work.

The Access to the Webinar

This Webinar ran on Tuesday the 3rd of December 2019 from 5:00PM to 6:30PM CET.

The full Recording is available for tCL Members. Please log in and access the recording here.

The Suggested Reading

What Makes Work Meaningful — Or Meaningless?, MIT Sloan Management Review, Research Feature: Summer 2016 Issue
The Five Paradoxes of Meaningful Work: Introduction to the Special Issue ‘Meaningful Work: Prospects for the 21st Century’, Journal of Management Studies 56:3 May 2019

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