Title page for ETD etd-09152012-112406


Document Type Doctoral Thesis
Author Steenkamp, Petrus Leonard
URN etd-09152012-112406
Document Title A meaningful workplace : from theory development to applicability
Degree PhD
Department Human Resource Management
Supervisor
Advisor Name Title
Prof J S Basson Supervisor
Keywords
  • organizational behaviour
  • meaningful workplace
  • meaning at work
  • meaningful work
  • postmodernism
  • phenomenology
  • constructivism
  • repertory grid
  • qualitative research
Date 2012-09-05
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
Employees experience a loss of meaning in the workplace as a result of fragmentation and alienation (Casey, 2002). This seems to be the result of a change in the way in which people view their world and their experiences in the world, including their place of work. The purpose of the study was to investigate the loss of meaning at work. The investigation indicated a variety of factors as described by Terez (2000), Casey (2002), and Chalofsky (2010). The problem is not a singular problem which can be discussed in isolation, but tends towards a problem-complex, which relates to negative work-life-experiences and that result in the alienation of the individual from the self, work, the organization and others at work. The purpose of the study: “A meaningful workplace: From theory development to applicability” is to construe a meaningful workplace model through the identification and description of the constitutive dimensions which construe the underlying theoretical base. It was purposefully structured within the Organizational Behaviour domain, to indicate the applicability of the construct and its underlying theoretical base, in management practice in organizational settings. This purpose was pursued along the boundary lines of three objectives: To conceptualize the constitutive elements of the construct: meaningful workplace; to expand (develop) the theoretical base of the construct meaningful workplace and to present evidence for the existence of the construct based on empirical evidence from the world of work.

The study follows a qualitative research methodology consisting of a constructivist approach, utilizing two data gathering methods, and interpreted from a phenomenological perspective with a consistent focus on the lived experience of people at work. Two data gathering methods were utilised. Firstly a literature review, of formal scholarly publications was undertaken to identify the constitutive dimensions of the construct. The research followed the lead of the Meaning of Work Project Team (1987), Terez (2000), and Chalofsky (2010), and others.

Secondly three empirical data sets were investigated. The first data set consisted of the annual research results of the CRF Institute in relation to the “Best employer to work for”. The second data set consisted of information gleaned from verbatim responses in an exit interview report, being made available for the study. The third data set consists of Repertory Grid interview data. Results of the research indicate that the construct meaningful workplace is an emerging construct in literature and that the tenets exist as an ideal in the lived experience of employees. The study contributes to the expansion (development) of the underlying theory of a meaningful workplace while simultaneously also providing a parallel understanding of human behaviour at work.

© 2012 University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Steenkamp, PL 2012, A meaningful workplace : from theory development to applicability , PhD thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-09152012-112406 / >

D12/9/141/ag

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