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Call for Papers: Proposed Symposium on Meaning Making in the Workplace (A gentle reminder)

  • 1.  Call for Papers: Proposed Symposium on Meaning Making in the Workplace (A gentle reminder)

    Posted 11-15-2018 14:25

    Meaning making in the workplace: A deep dive into the intricacies

    (Proposed Symposium, AOM 2019)

    Organizers: Dr. Anirban Kar (Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University) and Jing Hu (Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto)

    Discussant: Dr. A. R. Elangovan (Peter B. Gustavson School of Business, University of Victoria)

    Dear colleagues,

    We invite you to join our proposed symposium on meaning making in the workplace, as described below.

    We know that positive meaning in the workplace is a significant source of motivation (Chalofsky, 2010; Pratt & Ashforth, 2003; Hackman & Oldham, 1976), engagement (Rosso, Dekas, Wrzesniewski, 2010; May, Gilson & Harter, 2004), job satisfaction (Rosso et al., 2010; Wrzesniewski, McCauley, Rozin & Schwartz, 1997), and existential fulfilment (Kusuma & Madasu, 2015; Tomic & Tomic, 2011). However, we don't know as much about the intricacies of the meaning making process in the workplace.

    The objective of our proposed symposium is to probe this gap and examine questions such as:

    • Why/when do we think about meaning in our work lives? When does meaning become important in the workplace?
    • How do we make meaning in the workplace? What are the cognitive processes in meaning making? Are meaning making and sensemaking distinct; if so, how?
    • What are the temporal aspects of meaning making? How do past experiences/future expectations influence the meaning making process? How does an individual's meaning making process evolve over time?
    • Are there differences in the meaning making process for meaningfulness and meaninglessness?
    • How do intrinsic (disposition, personality, attributes) and extrinsic (interpersonal, organizational, societal, cultural, economical) factors influence meaning making?
    • How does meaning making vary across different work orientations, such as calling, career and job?

    In our proposed symposium, we will present and discuss four research papers which study topics around the above questions. Our intent is to add to the nascent literature on meaning making (e.g., Lips-Wiersma, 2002; Wrzesniewski, Dutton & Debebe, 2003; van den Heuvel, Demerouti, Schreurs, Bakker & Schaufeli, 2009; Park, 2010). Given the benefits of positive meaning in the workplace, insights on the meaning making process will be valuable to managers, leaders, and practitioners.

    We hope you are intrigued and inspired to join our proposed symposium. We invite you to submit, by November 20, 2018,: (1) an abstract of your paper (~250 words), and (2) a brief paragraph on how your paper fits our proposed symposium to Anirban (anirbank@sfu.ca) or to Jing (jing.hu14@rotman.utoronto.ca). Your paper may be conceptual or empirical. Meta-analyses are also welcome. We look forward to receiving and reading your interesting work. Thank you!



    Chalofsky, N. (2010). Meaningful places to work: Reframing where and how we work. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

    Hackman, J. R., & Oldham, G. R. (1976). Motivation through the design of work: Test of a theory. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 16(2), 250-279.

    Kusuma, P. G., & Madasu, S. (2015). 'A Great Place to Work': A comparison of Employee Engagement Practices of select companies with David Zinger Engagement Pyramid. Aweshkar Research Journal, 19(1), 55-67.

    Lips-Wiersma, M. (2002). The influence of spiritual "meaning-making" on career behavior. Journal of Management Development21(7), 497-520.

    May, D., Gilson, R. & Harter, L. (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(1), 11–27. http://dx.doi.org/10.1348/096317904322915892.

    Park, C. L. (2010). Making sense of the meaning literature: An integrative review of meaning making and its effects on adjustment to stressful life events. Psychological Bulletin136(2), 257-301.

    Pratt, M. G., & Ashforth, B. E. (2003). Fostering meaningfulness in working and at work. In K. S. Cameron, J. E. Dutton & R. E. Quinn (Eds.),Positive organizational scholarship: Foundations of a new discipline (pp. 309-327). San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler.

    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. doi:10.1016/j.riob.2010.03.001.

    Tomic, M., & Tomic, E. (2011). Existential fulfilment, workload and work engagement among nurses. Journal of Research in Nursing, 16(5), 468-479. doi: 10.1177/1744987110383353.

    van den Heuvel, M., Demerouti, E., Schreurs, B. H., Bakker, A. B., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2009). Does meaning-making help during organizational change? Development and validation of a new scale. Career Development International14(6), 508-533.

    Wrzesniewski, A., McCauley, C., Rozin, P., & Schwartz, B. (1997). Jobs, careers, and callings: People's relations to their work. Journal of Research in Personality, 31(1), 21-33.

    Wrzesniewski, A., Dutton, J. E., & Debebe, G. (2003). Interpersonal sensemaking and the meaning of work. In R. M. Kramer & B. M. Staw (Eds.), Research in organizational behavior (Vol. 25, pp. 93-135). Oxford, UK: Elsevier.

    Anirban Kar
    Post Doctorate Fellow
    Simon Fraser University
    Burnaby BC Canada