Fostering meaningfulness and trust at work: promises and pitfalls. Michael G. Pratt | IECO - RCC | Summary and Q&A

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June 2, 2016
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Harvard University
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Fostering meaningfulness and trust at work: promises and pitfalls. Michael G. Pratt | IECO - RCC

TL;DR

Organizations face challenges in fostering meaningfulness at work, such as job fragmentation and a lack of clarity on what makes work meaningful. Trust and meaningful work are closely linked. Pitfalls include inauthentic attempts to manage meaning and neglecting employees in the pursuit of helping others.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How is meaningfulness at work defined?

Meaningfulness at work refers to work that has positive significance, is purposeful, and worth doing. It goes beyond mere happiness and focuses on deep contentment and fulfillment.

Q: What are the pitfalls organizations face in fostering meaningfulness at work?

One of the pitfalls is job fragmentation, where work becomes highly fragmented and individuals feel like cogs in a machine. Another pitfall is the lack of clarity on what makes work meaningful, causing individuals to struggle in understanding the value of their work.

Q: How is trust related to meaningful work?

Trust is closely linked to meaningful work. For example, firefighters rely on trust in their colleagues during dangerous situations. Understanding how someone perceives and finds meaning in their work can determine trust levels within a team or organization.

Q: What are some practices organizations can adopt to foster meaningfulness at work?

Job enrichment, providing more challenging and significant tasks, increasing autonomy and feedback, and showcasing the significance of a job within the organization or society are all practices that can foster meaningfulness at work.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Fostering meaningfulness at work involves creating a sense of purpose and significance in one's job.

  • Job fragmentation contributes to alienation and hinders meaningfulness.

  • Lack of clarity on what makes work meaningful can make it difficult for individuals to find value in their work.

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