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"We're not scum, we're human": agential responses in the face of meaningless work

"We're not scum, we're human": agential responses in the face of meaningless work

Bailey, Catherine and Madden, Adrian ORCID: 0000-0002-3193-5808 (2019) "We're not scum, we're human": agential responses in the face of meaningless work. Scandinavian Journal of Management, 35 (4):101064. ISSN 0956-5221 (doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scaman.2019.101064)

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Abstract

We adopt a relational sociology lens to explore the experience of work as meaningless. Through interviews with 47 participants in four different occupations, we found that meaninglessness arises through four relational processes: powerlessness, disconnection, devaluation and self-doubt. Individuals enacted five agential responses to this experience. Two of these, switching and responsibility-taking, were ‘altering’ strategies, and three, acceptance, distancing and resistance, were ‘coping’ strategies. These responses were not equally available to all workers in all occupations, suggestive of a stratified experience of work meaninglessness. Our study contributes to understandings of how work is rendered meaningless and how individuals might respond.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: alienation, meaningful work, meaningless work, relational sociology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Business
Faculty of Business > Department of Human Resources & Organisational Behaviour
Last Modified: 12 Aug 2019 12:29
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/24868

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