07/27/2010

Making work meaningful

Work that is given meaning has vitaminic effects on the worker's mental health
and inspires his commitment towards an organization, while work without meaning
promotes the appearance of symptoms of stress, and even distress.

The Canadian Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du
travail (IRSST) has pulished a document intended for managers and others
involved in workplace health in its broad sense, including psychological
well-being. It is also a tool for heads of human resource departments, health &
safety committees, and union and employer representatives. It is based on the
study, The Meaning of Work, Mental Health and Organizational Commitment, which
discusses six characteristics giving meaning to work, as well as analyzing the
links between work characteristics, mental health and an employee’s commitment
to his or her employer. The document provides a positive and proactive approach
to workplace health.

Using questionnaires, the research team collected data from the personnel in
four organizations in order to demonstrate that characteristics such as the
usefulness of the work, the moral rectitude of the work, learning and
development opportunities, autonomy, recognition and the quality of human
relations were tied to the meaning that people give to their work. They also
observed that work that is seen as being useful to society and that makes it
possible to learn are factors that influence people's perception of it. Other
hypotheses relating to the positive or negative impact of the meaning given to
work on psychological well-being or distress also emerged. The researchers
developed a theoretical model that presents work organization as a determining
factor of employees' health, attitudes and performance. If a person has a
positive perception of his work activities, his working conditions, and the
relationships with his coworkers and supervisor, he will tend to find meaning
in his work, and as a result, to feel physically and psychologically well in
it. Conversely, if his perception is negative, he will tend to consider that
his work and the environment in which he works have no meaning. Consequently,
the person will present symptoms of stress or distress. The researchers also
noted that ethical and moral problems constitute a growing concern in
workplaces.


More info


AplusA-online.de - Source: Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail (IRSST)