The Five Qualities of Meaningful Work

Qualitative studies like this one, and quantitative studies too, show that meaningful work generally includes the idea of self-transcendence. We find work more meaningful if it’s for a purpose greater than ourselves.

This study identifies four other qualities of meaningful work, in addition to “self-transcendent.” Meaningful work is also poignant, episodic, reflective, and personal.

“Our research aimed to uncover how and why people find their work meaningful. For our interviewees, meaningfulness, perhaps unsurprisingly, was often associated with a sense of pride and achievement at a job well done, whether they were professionals or manual workers .. These factors alone were not enough to render work meaningful, however. Our study also revealed five unexpected features of meaningful work; in these, we find clues that might explain the fragile and intangible nature of meaningfulness.”

What Makes Work Meaningful — Or Meaningless | MIT Sloan Management Review


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Written by

Aaron Miller

Aaron Miller

Provo, UT