Fostering meaningful work in organizations: A multi-level review and integration

Evgenia I. Lysova*, Blake A. Allan, Bryan J. Dik, Ryan D. Duffy, Michael F. Steger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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With more individuals wanting their work to be meaningful, rather than just a source of income, more organizations recognize that fostering meaningful work is crucial for engaging their employees. Although scholars from diverse disciplines have made valuable efforts to examine how individual, job, organizational, and societal factors contribute to meaningful work, there is still no cohesive understanding of how these factors relate to one another and, thus, how organizations can proactively foster experiences of meaningful work for their employees. This paper reports the results of a multilevel review on the factors that contribute to workers’ experiences of meaningful work and discusses how these factors are related to each other to enable the experience of meaningful work in ways that organizations can promote. Our review suggests that to enable individuals to move beyond satisfying their basic needs by constructing their own sense of meaningful work, organizations should build and maintain work environments characterized by a) well-designed, good-fitting, and quality jobs that provide opportunities to job craft, b) facilitative leaders, cultures, policies and practices, and high-quality relationships, and c) an access to decent work. Our review demonstrates that there is a need for scholars to develop a theory that explains how individual, organizational and societal factors interact to foster meaningful work in organizations. Future research should also explore how organizations can target personality and societal factors that contribute to meaningful work.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)374-389
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Vocational Behavior
Issue numberPart B
Early online date21 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019

Bibliographical note

Part of special issue: Review Issue 2017/18 (Annual issue)


  • CSR
  • Decent work
  • Job design
  • Leadership
  • Meaningful work
  • Person-environment fit
  • Personality traits


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