Journal of Business Ethics 170 (3):413-428 (2021)

Christopher Michaelson
University of St. Thomas, Minnesota
Research on meaningful work has not embraced a shared definition of what it is, in part because many researchers and laypersons agree that it means different things to different people. However, subjective and social accounts of meaningful work have limited practical value to help people pursue it and to help scholars study it. The account of meaningful work advanced in this paper is inherently normative. It recognizes the relevance of subjective experience and social agreement to appraisals of meaningfulness but considers them conceptually incomplete and practically limited. According to this normative account, meaningful work should be meaningful to oneself and to others and is also meaningful independent of them. It sets forth grounds for evaluating some work to be more meaningful than other work, asserting the possibility that one could be mistaken about the meaningfulness of one’s work. While it thus proscribes some claims to meaningful work, it also opens up potential new avenues of inquiry into, among other things, self-aggrandizing and harmful work that is experienced as meaningful, morally valuable work that is not experienced as meaningful, and the distinction between experienced and normative meaningfulness.
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DOI 10.1007/s10551-019-04389-0
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Citations of this work BETA

Business Ethics.Jeffrey Moriarty - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Business Ethics.Alexei Marcoux - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Philosophical Approaches to Work and Labor.Michael Cholbi - 2022 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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