Virtue and the case for meaningful work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter considers empirical research into meaningful work from the perspective of the virtues. Research conducted over more than half a century has isolated a number of dimensions that animate the experience of meaningful work and a number of desirable consequences that are associated with it including improved job performance and job satisfaction. Research is fragmented however and there is no generally agreed explanatory framework though many potential candidates. A second significant problem in the field is the repeated finding that not all employees experience meaningfulness in jobs whose characteristics suggest that they should and that some employees craft meaning into otherwise mundane work. As a result of this some ethicists have maintained that meaningful work is an inherently subjective notion and therefore that it cannot function as the type of good that can be the subject of ethical claims. A MacIntyrean virtue ethics perspective overcomes this objection, in part because it accounts for the apparent subjectivity in the attributions of meaningfulness in terms of the virtues that agents have developed, or failed to develop. The case for meaningful work is its necessity to the development of the virtues.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Virtue Ethics in Business
EditorsAlejo José G. Sison
Place of PublicationLondon
ISBN (Print)9789400765092
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Dec 2015

Publication series

NameInternational Handbooks in Business Ethics


Dive into the research topics of 'Virtue and the case for meaningful work'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this