What makes work meaningful - or meaningless?

Catherine Bailey, Adrian Madden

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

142 Citations (Scopus)


Meaningful work is something we all want. The psychiatrist Viktor Frankl famously described how the innate human quest for meaning is so strong that, even in the direst circumstances, people seek out their purpose in life. More recently, researchers have shown meaningfulness to be more important to employees than any other aspect of work, including pay and rewards, opportunities for promotion, or working conditions. Meaningful work can be highly motivational, leading to improved performance, commitment, and satisfaction. But, so far, surprisingly little research has explored where and how people find their work meaningful and the role that leaders can play in this process.
Original languageEnglish
No.Summer 2016
Specialist publicationMIT Sloan Management Review
PublisherMassachusetts Institute of Technology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes

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