Relation of Meaningful Work to Important Outcomes in a Public University

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1543 Words
Date:  2021-05-20

The Concept of Meaningful Work

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The undergirding concept of meaning is one that is inevitably related to either the positive or the negative existence of a person and comprises the workplace, in this case, a public university, as a fundamental area of the persons existence (Wolf 2010, p.7). In the past, the concept was mostly regarded as philosophical, and its application in a workplace such as a public university would be inappropriate. Even so, the contemporary world has witnessed a rapid increase in the usage of the concept in such workplaces. Currently, research tends to agree that people are in constant search for meaning in their work and pursue only those professions they consider meaningful and motivating (Chalofsky and Krishna 2009, p.189-204). Once an individual meets their lower survival needs, their next motive is to address the higher order needs, which comprise the move from a sense of belonging to the eventual self-actualization. Meaningfulness at work has been found to share a closer relationship with the satiation of such higher order needs. Meeting the needs is the immediate precedence to seeking a meaningful work that results in the sense of motivation. For purposes of simplicity, Wolf (2010, p.10-13) defines meaningfulness as the lacking element in an individuals life, which they not only yearn for, but in whose pursuit they do not relent.

In this respect, meaningful work connotes how significant the work is to an employee. On the other hand, psychological meaningfulness denotes the value of a purpose or goal of a particular work to a person as determined by the persons ideals and standards. Various researchers found out that the meaning one draws out of their work led to positive outcomes, especially the element of employee engagement. The particular link existing between a public university and the employee presumes the existence of a certain level of meaning in work. The importance of meaningful worn in a public university cannot be understated. It is directly related to the most critical institutional outcomes such as wellbeing, creativity or collaboration in a public university. This is particularly true in the sense that meaningfulness at work is the key driver of employee engagement, which is directly proportional to positive organizational outcomes.

Meaningful Work, Employee Engagement and Organizational Commitment

The unique relationship between meaningful work and important outcomes and processes such as well-being in a public university can be best evaluated through an evaluation between the meaning employees draw out of work and employee engagement. Employee engagement is a pivotal factor for managers due to the fact that alienation is the core source of the lack of organizational commitment. Field and Buitendach (2011, p.68-77) confirm that work engagement is a source of positive work outcomes such as commitment to work and the organization. In a public university, where such organizational commitment is particularly important, it suffices to say that meaningfulness of work is a harbinger of critical organizational outcomes. The kind of relationship is further evident in the underlying concept of organizational commitment. In a workplace context, the concept of commitment has evolved over the years to cover areas such as attachment, involvement, engagement and commitment itself. Past studies emphasize on the vitality of organizational commitment. The commitment has also been linked to positive work outcomes such as collaboration. Wollard and Shuck (2011, p.429-446) describe organizational commitment as an involuntary and subconscious pressure to act in a manner that leads to the achievement of the goals of an organization. This kind of commitment comprises three aspects, including an employees strong belief in the values and goals of the public university, the willingness to do more than is required for the prosperity of the organization and possessing an urge to remain an employee of the institution. Research has established a firm link between the organizational commitment and employee engagement. Correspondingly, while organizational commitment denotes the involvement and identification of a worker with a firm, employee engagement comprises the involvement in a particular organizational role or the entire work. Besides, the loyalty of the employees of the university will increase significantly when the institution values and appreciates them and their efforts. Most of the current day organizations face an obstacle in their bid to create experiences of meaningful work to fit an employee to the organization. This is perhaps due to the sole reason that meaningful work ameliorates the functioning of the employees, leading to higher levels of commitment and engagement. Employees who exhibit high levels of engagement also tend to display higher levels of commitment to both the organization and individual work or role. Besides, employees who draw sufficient meaningfulness out of their work are better psychologically prepared and have qualities fundamental to the important processes of an organization. Steger, Dik and Duffy (2012, p.322-337) add that meaningfulness out of work leads to greater employee well-being resulting from the positive attitude and the sense of belonging the employees hold towards the organization. Besides, they will attach a higher value to their work, work to remain an employee of the organization, and perceive their work as an important part of their existence. The discussion reveals two major hypotheses that highlight the relationship between meaningfulness out of work and organizational commitment, and the eventual employee engagement. Firstly, psychological meaningfulness, organizational commitment and employee work engagement have a positive relationship. Secondly, it is evident that psychological meaningfulness exhibits an indirect impact on the commitment in an organization through employee work engagement. In general, meaningful work is a determinant of optimal workplace functioning and would be a pivotal factor influencing the important outcomes and processes in a public university. Precisely, meaningful work creates a positive engagement in the employees, thereby promoting commitment at work.

Transformational Leadership, Meaningful Work and Organizational Outcomes

On the same breadth, transformational leadership, as a source of meaningful work, doubles up as the source of improved organizational outcomes and processes such as creativity, thus, revealing the intricate relationship between the three variables (Wells and Peachey 2011, p.23-40). There are myriad reasons that justify the positive relationship between transformational leadership and meaningful work, all factors that enhance the achievement of organizational outcomes. Transformational leadership comprises vital behaviors and features that not only motivate, but also inspire the followers. In the case of a public university, the behaviors and features therein are the important dimensions that assist in the attainment of challenge, purpose and meaning for the work environment. The resultant job-person fit is directly proportional to the important aspects of an organization such as creativity and collaboration as well as the sense of employee wellbeing. Furthermore, transformational leadership is the knot that ties the meaningfulness of work and positive organizational results achieved through the improvement of factors such as innovativeness, creativity and employee wellbeing. Leaders who champion for motivational behavior among their employees are perceived as visionary agents of high organizational productivity. Work becomes more meaningful to employees once they have established that they are making good use out of their energy and the returns are worthwhile. In line with the assertion, it suffices to say that persons who fail to derive meaning out of their work experience senses of rejection, misunderstanding and prejudice. Such emotions, which are products of bad leadership, have a negative relationship with the important organizational outcomes such as wellbeing in the sense that they make employees feel that their work is meaningless. As an example, through the application of intellectual stimulation, transformational leaders can influence their followers to seek solutions for challenges and problems as well as embrace high levels of innovativeness and creativity. In a work environment like a public university, when leaders adopt intellectual stimulation, the self-esteem of the workers and their confidence grows, leading to a sense of belonging, well-being and the ability to contribute to the performance of the organization positively. Thus, the positive influence of transformational leadership on the meaningfulness of work defines the relationship between the meaningful work and organizational outcomes and processes, especially creativity.

In conclusion, meaningful work is positively related to the important outcomes and processes such as wellbeing, creativity or collaboration in an organization. This discussion treated a public university as an organization; thus, the preceding statement is also true for the case of a public university. The intricate relationship between meaningful work and the variables have been evaluated through equally important aspects such as transformational leadership and employee engagement. It is particularly noteworthy that high levels of employee engagement and transformational leadership are harbingers of positive organizational outcomes as a result of their relationship with meaningful work.

References List

Chalofsky, N, & Krishna, V 2009, Meaningfulness, commitment and engagement: The intersection of a deeper level of intrinsic motivation,' Advances in Developing Human Resources, 11, 189204.

Field, LK, & Buitendach, JH 2011, Happiness, work engagement and organizational commitment of support staff at a tertiary education institution in South Africa,' South African Journal of Industrial Psychology, 37, 6877.

Steger, MF, Dik, BJ, & Duffy, RD 2012, Measuring meaningful work: The work and meaning inventory,' Journal of Career Assessment, 20, 322337.

Wells, JE & Peachey, JW 2011, Turnover Intentions Do Leadership Behaviors and Satisfaction with the Leader Matter?, Team Performance Management, 17 (1/2): 23-40.

Wolf, S 2010, Meaning in life and why it matters, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.

Wollard, KK & Shuck, B 2011, Antecedents to Employee Engagement: A structured review of the Literature,' Advances in Developing Human Resources 13 (2011): 429-446.

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Relation of Meaningful Work to Important Outcomes in a Public University. (2021, May 20). Retrieved from

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