Generational differences in the frequency and importance of meaningful work.
Thesis DisciplineBusiness Administration
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Commerce
This thesis aimed to investigate generational differences in the frequency and importance of meaningful work in employees based on the 7 facets of the Map of Meaning. Hypotheses were tested through Analysis of Variance of secondary data. 395 participants self-reported levels of meaningful work on the Comprehensive Meaningful Work Scale. Results indicated that Generation Y had significantly lower levels of meaningful work. Generation Y had significantly lower levels of Unity (importance), Serving (frequency and importance), Expressing full potential (frequency), Reality (frequency and importance) and Inspiration (frequency). Significant differences occurred mainly between Generation Y and Baby boomers, with some significant differences between Generation Y and Generation X and no significant differences between Generation X and Baby boomers. Results showed that overall frequency and importance levels were significantly lower for Generation Y. Overall frequency levels were lower than overall importance levels, which suggests that employees’ desire for meaningful work may not be satisfied. In light of this evidence, it is suggested that to improve organisational outcomes such as engagement, retention and performance, managers should provide opportunities for employees to engage in meaningful work with particular focus on Generation Y. Employees themselves should take responsibility to find meaning in their own work and life because engagement in meaningful activities can lead to satisfaction, belonging, fulfilment and a better understanding of one’s purpose in life.
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