How to increase meaningfulness at work | The Oxford Review - OR Briefings

How to increase meaningfulness at work

Research Briefing

Kathryn Thory, a researcher at the Department of Strategy and Organisation of the University of Strathclyde, has just published a paper looking at whether developing a greater level of emotional intelligence can help people derive more meaning at and from their work.


The difference between a ‘job’ and a ‘career’ is whether the individual just works their shift and goes home without a second thought, or whether they enjoy what they do and are engaged in it. This comes down to whether one derives meaningfulness from one’s work.

Thory derived the following four factors as a definition of the elements of meaningfulness:

  1. Developing the inner self (self/being),
  2. Expressing full potential (self/doing),
  3. Unity with others (others/being) and
  4. Serving others (others/doing).

As you can see this is a holistic view of creating meaningfulness which encompasses the self and others, both being and doing.

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