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Time reclaimed: temporality and the experience of meaningful work

Time reclaimed: temporality and the experience of meaningful work

Bailey, Catherine and Madden, Adrian ORCID: 0000-0002-3193-5808 (2015) Time reclaimed: temporality and the experience of meaningful work. Work, Employment & Society, 31 (1). pp. 3-18. ISSN 0950-0170 (Print), 1469-8722 (Online) (doi:

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The importance of meaningful work has been identified in scholarly work across a range of disciplines. However, empirical studies remain sparse and the potential relevance of the concept of temporality, hitherto neglected even in wider sociological studies of organisations, has not been considered in terms of the light that it can shed on the experience of work as meaningful. These two disparate bodies of thought are brought together to generate new accounts of work meaningfulness through the lens of temporality. Findings from a qualitative study of workers in three occupations with ostensibly distinct temporal landscapes are reported. All jobs had the potential to be both meaningful and meaningless; meaningfulness arose episodically through work experiences that were shared, autonomous and temporally complex. Schutz’s notion of the ‘vivid present’ emerged as relevant to understanding how work is rendered meaningful within an individual’s personal and social system of relevances.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Temporality, Meaningful work, Time ordering, Transcendence
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Business
Faculty of Business > Centre for Work and Employment Research (CREW)
Faculty of Business > Department of Human Resources & Organisational Behaviour
Last Modified: 19 May 2020 14:54

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