Meaningful work reference list


Listed below are key publications on meaningful work. The list is constantly being updated so please bookmark and come back to check! If you have any other references that would be useful to include, please let me know and I will add them to the list.

Recent publications

Allan, B., Douglass, R., Duffy, R. & McCarty, R. 2016. Meaningful work as a moderator of the relation between work stress and meaning in life. Journal of Career Assessment, 24(3): 429-440.

Allan, B., Auton, K. & Duffy, R. 2016. Self-determination and meaningful work: exploring socioeconomic constraints. Frontiers in Psychology.

Bailey, C., Madden, A., Alfes, K., Shantz, A., & Soane, E. 2016 – online early ‘The Mis-Managed Soul: Existential Labor and the Erosion of Meaningful Work’.  Human Resource Management Review.

Barcan, R. 2017 – online early. ‘Paying dearly for the privilege: Conceptions, experiences and temporalities of vocation in academic life. Pedagogy, Culture & Society.

Carton, A. 2017. “I’m not mopping the floors, I’m putting a man on the moon”: How NASA leaders enhanced the meaningfulness of work by changing the meaning of work.  Administrative Science Quarterly.

Chen, H., Lee, A. Chen, I & Wu, H. 2016. The meaningfulness of managerial work: case of Taiwanese employees. Chinese Management Studies, 10(1): 138-154.

Colbert, A., Bono, J. & Purvanova, R. 2016. Flourishing via workplace relationships: moving beyond instrumental support. Academy of Management Journal, 59(4): 1199-1223.

Johnson, M. & Jiang, L. 2016. Reaping the benefits of meaningful work: the mediating versus moderating role of work engagement. Stress Health, 1-10.

Jung, H. & Yoon, H. 2016. What does work meaning to hospitality employees? The effects of meaningful work on employees’ organizational commitment: the mediating role of job engagement. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 53: 59-68.

Kenny, M., Catralo, C. Bempechat, J., Minor, K., Olle, C. Blustein, D. & Seltzer, J. 2016. Preparation for meaningful work and life: urban high school youth’s reflections on work-based learning 1 year post-graduation. Frontiers in Psychology.

Kossek, E., Piszczek, M., McAlpine, K., Hammer, L & Burke, L. 2016. Filling the holes: work schedulers as job crafters of employment practice in long-term health care. ILR Review, 69(4): 961-990.

Lepisto, D. & Pratt, M. 2016. Meaningful work as realization and justification: toward a dual conceptualization. Organizational Psychology Review. 

Lips-Wiersma, M. & von Hirschberg, I. (2017) Meaningful Work. Oxford Bibliography. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Mitra, R. & Buzzanell, P. 2016. Communicative tensions of meaningful work: the case of sustainability practitioners. Human Relations. 

Montani, F., Boudrias, J. & Pigeon, M. 2016. Employee recognition, meaningfulness and behavioural involvement: test of a moderated mediation model. International Journal of Human Resource Management.

Pradhan, S & Pradhan, R. 2016. Transformational leadership and job outcomes: the mediating role of meaningful work. Global Business Review, 17(3S): 173S-185S.

Rasmussen, V., Turnell, A., Butow, P et al. 2016. Burnout among psychosocial oncologists: an application and extension of the effort-reward imbalance model. Psycho-Oncology, 25: 194-202.

Renard, M. & Snelgar, R. 2016. How can work be designed to be intrinsically rewarding? Qualitative insights from South African non-profit employees. SA Journal of Industrial Psychology. 

Thory, K. 2016. Developing meaningfulness at work through emotional intelligence training. International Journal of Training and Development, 20(1).

Tims, M., Derks, D. & Bakker, A. (2016). Job crafting and its relationships with person-job fit and meaningfulness: a three-wave study. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 92: 44-53.

Torp, S., Vinje, H & Haaheim-Simonsen, H. 2016. Work, well-being and presence among researchers. International Journal of Mental Health Promotion, 18(4): 199-212.

Veltman, A. 2016.  Meaningful Work. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Weeks, K. & Schaffert, C. 2017. Generational differences in definitions of meaningful work: A mixed methods study.  Journal of Business Ethics. 


Albuquerque, I. F., Cunha, R. C., Martins, L. D., & Sa, A. B. 2014. Primary health care services: Workplace spirituality and organizational performance. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 27: 59-82.

Arnold, K., Turner, N., Barling, J., Kelloway, E. K., & McKee, M. C. 2007. Transformational leadership and psychological well-being: The mediating role of meaningful work. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 12: 193-203.

Ashmos, D. & Duchon, D. 2000. Spirituality at work: A conceptualization and measure. Journal of Management Inquiry, 9(2): 134–145.

Bailey, C. & Madden, A. 2016 – on line early ‘Time Reclaimed: Temporality and Meaningful Work’. Work, Employment and Society.

Bailey, C. & Madden, A. 2016 ‘What makes Work Meaningful – or Meaningless’.  MIT Sloan Management Review, 57(4): 53-61.

Bailey, C., Madden, A., Alfes, K., & Fletcher, L. 2015. The meaning, antecedents and outcomes of employee engagement: a narrative synthesis. International Journal of Management Reviews. DOI: 10.1111/ijmr.12077.

Bassi, M., Bacher, G., Negri, L., & Delle Fave, A. 2013. The contribution of job happiness and job meaning to the well-being of workers from thriving and failing companies. Applied Research Quality Life, 8:427-448.

Bergmann, J. S., Renshaw, K. D., Allen, E.S., Markman, H. J. & Stanley, S. M. 2014. Meaningfulness of service and marital satisfaction in army couples. Journal of Family Psychology, 28: 701-706.

Britt, T. W., Adler, A. B., & Bartone, P. T. 2001. Deriving benefits from stressful events: The role of engagement in meaningful work and hardiness. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 6: 53-63.

Britt, T.W., Dickinson, J.M., Castro, C.A. & Adler, A.B. 2007. Correlates and consequences of morale versus depression under stressful conditions. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 12: 34-47.

Broadfoot, K., Carlone, D. Medved, C. et al 2008. Meaning/ful work and organizational communication: questioning boundaries, positionalities and engagements. Management Communication Quarterly, 22: 152-161.

Bunderson, S. J., & Thompson, J. A. 2009. The call of the wild: Zookeepers, callings, and the double-edged sword of deeply meaningful work. Administrative Science Quarterly, 54: 32-57.

Cameron, K., Dutton, J. & Quinn, R. 2003. Positive Organizational Scholarship. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.

Chalofsky, N. 2003 An emerging construct for meaningful work.  Human Resource Development International, 6 (1): 69-83.

Chen, C-Y., & Li, C-I. 2013. Assessing the spiritual leadership effectiveness: The contribution of follower’s self-concept and preliminary tests for moderation of culture and managerial position. The Leadership Quarterly, 24: 240-255.

Chen, Z., Zhang, X., & Vogel, D. 2011. Exploring the underlying processes between conflict and knowledge sharing: A work engagement perspective. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 41: 1005-1033.

Cheney, G. & Nadesan, M. 2008. Forum conclusion. Management Communication Quarterly, 22: 181-189.

Cohen-Meitar, R., Carmeli, A., & Waldman, D. A. 2009. Linking meaningfulness in the workplace to employee creativity. The intervening role of organizational identification and positive psychological experiences. Creativity Research Journal, 21: 361-375.

Daniel, J. L. 2015. Workplace spirituality and stress: Evidence from Mexico and US. Management Research Review, 38: 29-43.

Duchon, D., & Plowman, D, A. 2005. Nurturing the spirit at work: Impact on work unit performance. The Leadership Quarterly, 16: 807-833.

Duffy, R. D., Allan, B. A., Autin, K. L., & Bott, E. M. 2013. Calling and life satisfaction: It’s not about having it, it’s about living it. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 60: 42-52.

Duffy, R. D., Blake., A. A., Autin, K. L., & Douglass, R. P. 2014. Living a calling and work well-being: A longitudinal study. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 61: 605-615.

Fairlie, P. 2011. Meaningful work, employee engagement, and other key outcomes: Implications for human resource development. Advances in Human Resources, 13: 508-525.

Frankl, V 1959 Man’s Search for Meaning. Boston: Beacon Press.

Geldenhuys, M., Taba, K., & Venter, C. M. 2014. Meaningful work, work engagement and organisational commitment. SA Journal of Industrial Psychology, 40(1) Art. #1098.

Ghadi, M. Y., Fernando, M., & Caputi, P. 2013. Transformational leadership and work engagement: The mediating effect of meaning in work. Leadership & Organizational Development Journal, 34: 532-550.

Gupta, M., Kumar, V., & Singh, M. 2014. Creating satisfied employees through workplace spirituality: A study of the private insurance firms in Punjab (India). Journal of Business Ethics, 122: 79-88.

Hackman, R., & Oldham, G. R. 1975. Development of the Job Diagnostic Survey. Journal of Applied Psychology, 60: 159-170.

Hackman, R., & Oldham, G. R. 1976. Motivation through the design of work: Test of a theory. Organizational Behavior and Human Experience, 16: 250-279.

Hirschi, A. 2012. Callings and work engagement: Moderation mediation model of work meaningfulness, occupational identity and occupational self-efficacy. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 59: 479-485.

Idaszak, J., Bottom, W. P., & Drasgow, F. 1988. A test of measurement equivalence of the revised job diagnostic survey: Past problems and current solutions. Journal of Applied Psychology, 73: 647-656.

Isaksen, J. 2000. Constructing meaning despite the drudgery of repetitive work. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 40: 84-107.

Johns, G., Xie, J. L., & Fang, Y. 1992. Mediating and moderating effects in job design. Journal of Management, 18: 657-676.

Kahn, W. A. 1990. Psychological conditions of personal engagement and disengagement at work. Academy of Management Journal, 33: 692-724.

Kuhn, T., Golden, A.G., Jorgenson, J., Buzzanell, P., Berkelaar, B. Kisselburgh, L., Kleinman, S. & Cruz, D. (2008) Cultural discourses and discursive resources for meaning/ful work: constructing and disrupting identities in contemporary capitalism. Management Communication Quarterly, 22: 162-177.

Lair, D., Shenoy, S., McClellan, J. & McGuire, T. 2008. The politics of meaningful work. Management Communication Quarterly, 22: 172-180.

Leiter, M. P., & Harvie, P. 1997. Correspondence of supervisor and subordinate during major organizational change. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 2: 343-352.

Li, I-C., Chen, Y-C., & Kuo, H-T. 2008. The relationship between work empowerment and work stress perceived by nurses at long-term care facilities in Taipei city. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 17: 3050-3058.

Lips-Wiersma, M. 2002. The influence of “spiritual meaning-making” on career behavior. The Journal of Management Development, 21: 497-520.

Lips-Wiersma, M., & Morris, L. 2009. Discriminating between ‘meaningful work’ and the ‘management of meaning’. Journal of Business Ethics, 88: 491-511.

Lips-Wiersma, M., & Wright, S. 2012. Measuring the meaning of meaningful work: Development and validation of the Comprehensive Meaningful Work Scale (CMWS). Group and Organization Management, 37: 665-685.

Littmann-Ovadia, H., & Steger M. 2010. Character strengths and well-being among volunteers and employees: Towards an integrative model. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 5: 419-430.

Madden, A., Bailey, C. and Kerr, J. 2015 ‘For this I was made’. Gender and callings: the experience of being called as a woman priest.’ Work, Employment and Society, 29(5): 866-874.

Mather, P. C. 2005. Interns at an international, humanitarian organization: Career pathways and meaning making. Journal of College Student Development, 49: 182-198.

May, D. R., Gilson, R. L., & Harter, L. M. 2004.The psychological conditions of meaningfulness, safety and availability and the engagement of the human spirit at work. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 77: 11-37.

McCarthy, J., & Friedman, L. H. 2006. The significance of autonomy in the nursing home administrator profession: A qualitative study. Health Care Management Review, 31: 55-63.

McCrae, R., Boreham, P., & Ferguson, M. 2011. Reducing work to life interference in the public service: The importance of participative management as mediated by other work attributes. Journal of Sociology, 47: 313-332.

Miller, J. G., & Wheeler, K. G. 1992. Unravelling the mysteries of gender differences in intentions to leave the organization. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 13: 465-478.

Munn, S. L. 2013. Unveiling the work-life system: The influence of work-life balance on meaningful work. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 15: 401-407.

Nair, N., & Vohra, N. 2010. An exploration of factors predicting work alienation of knowledge workers. Management Decision, 48: 600-615.

Pavlish, C., & Hunt, R. 2012. An exploratory study about meaningful work in acute care nursing. Nursing Forum, 47: 113-122.

Rafferty, A. E., & Restubog, S. L. D. 2011. The influence of abusive supervisors on followers’ organizational citizenship behaviours: The hidden costs of abusive supervision. British Journal of Management, 22: 270-285.

Rosso, B. D., Dekas, K. H., & Wrzesniewski, A. 2010. On the meaning of work: A theoretical integration and review. Research in Organizational Behavior, 30: 91-127.

Schnell, T., Höge, T., & Pollet, E. 2013. Predicting meaning in work: Theory, data, implications. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 8: 543-554.

Scroggins, W. A. 2008. Antecedents and outcomes of experienced meaningful work: A person-job fit perspective. Journal of Business Inquiry: Research, Education & Application, 7: 68-78.

Shantz, A., Alfes, K., Bailey, C. & Soane, E. 2015 Drivers and Outcomes of Work Alienation: Reviving a Concept. Journal of Management Inquiry, 24(4): 382-393.

Smidts, A., Pruyn, A. & van Riel, C. 2001. The impact of employee communication and perceived external prestige on organizational identification. Academy of Management Journal, 49: 1051-1062.

Soane, E., Shantz, A., Alfes, K., Truss, K., Rees, C., & Gatenby, M. 2013. The association of meaningfulness, well-being and engagement with absenteeism: A moderated mediation model. Human Resource Management, 52: 441-456.

Steger, M. F., Dik, B. J., & Duffy, R. D. 2012. Measuring meaningful work: The Work and Meaning Inventory (WAMI). Journal of Career Assessment, 00: 1-16.

Steger, M. F., Littmann-Ovadia, H., Miller, M., Menger, L., Rothmann, S. 2013. Engaging in work even when its meaningless: Positive affective disposition and meaningful work interact in relation to work engagement. Journal of Career Assessment, 21: 348-361.

Treadgold, R. 1999. Transcendent vocations: Their relationship to stress, depression and clarity of self-concept. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 39: 81-105.

Truss, C. and Madden, A. 2014. Transcending the self: understanding the role of the ‘other’ in meaningful work’. Paper presented at the British Academy of Management Conference, Belfast.

Tummers, L. G., & Knies, E. 2013. Leadership and meaningful work in the public sector. Public Administration Review, 73: 859-868.

Viera, A.J. & Garrett, J.M. 2005. Understanding inter-observer agreement: The kappa statistic. (Family Medicine). Research Series, 37(5): 360-363.

Yeoman, R. 2014. Conceptualising meaningful work as a fundamental human need. Journal of Business Ethics, 125: 235-251.

Yeoman, R. 2014. Meaningful work and workplace democracy: a philosophy of work and a politics of meaningfulness. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Yeoman, R., Bailey, C., Madden, A. & Thompson, M. 2018 – in preparation. The Oxford Handbook of Meaningful Work. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Zeitz, G., Johanneson, R. & Ritchie, J.E. 1997. An employee survey measuring total quality management practices and culture. Group & Organization Management, 22: 414-444.

Zorn, T. & Townsley, N. 2008. Introduction to the forum on meaning/ful work studies in organizational communication. Management Communication Quarterly, 22: 147-151.