Finding meaning at work: a case study from the HE sector

Velasco, Karen S. (2008) Finding meaning at work: a case study from the HE sector. MBA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Recent studies in the academic and popular press have revealed that people are more motivated, more loyal and more proud of their organization when they feel they gain meaning at work. Whilst there is a plethora of papers that consider the benefits of focusing on meaning at work and workplace spirituality within the corporate sector, research looking at its impact on the public sector, particularly within higher education (HE) in the UK, is scarce. The purpose of this project is to explore the notion of workplace spirituality, or meaning at work, in a case study HE institution (HEI). In particular, it considers to what extent workplace spirituality is embraced in the HE sector and what leaders can do to create a more meaningful workplace. The project examines critically the concept of spirituality in the workplace, drawing on recent academic thinking; it establishes whether workplace spirituality exists in a tangible sense in the case study HEI; it determines what organizational outcomes and benefits are related to workplace spirituality; and finally it makes recommendations for leaders wishing to transform their workplaces into more meaningful ones. Using quantitative and qualitative methods and a Grounded Theory approach, this study finds that whilst staff within the case study HEI are happy to talk about meaning at work, and the impact it has on their lives, they are less eager to discuss workplace spirituality and what it means to them. They do recognise, however, that focusing on meaning at work brings tangible benefits - both individual and organizational - and these can result in competitive advantage for the HEI. This project finds that ten themes emerge from the academic literature and the case study, all of which help inform our understanding of meaning at work. A new model for measuring meaning at work is proposed, based on these themes, and recommendations are made for its implementation within organizations. Practical recommendations are also made for the case study HEI to consider. The findings of this research provide a greater academic understanding of workplace spirituality and meaning at work within the HE sector, and the creation of a new model for measuring meaning at work provides a valuable practical measure for any organization wishing to gain tangible benefits from a greater focus on meaning at work.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Portsmouth Business School > Operations and Systems Management
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2011 12:48
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:14

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