Title

Communicative Tensions of Meaningful Work: The Case of Sustainability Practitioners

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

5-2017

Keywords

careers, meaningful work, politics, sustainability, tensions

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.1177/0018726716663288

Abstract

This study, based on in-depth interviews with 45 practitioners in the emerging field of environmental sustainability, argues for a more nuanced approach to studying the meaningfulness of work. Drawing from the tension-centered approach, we posit that sustainability practitioners derived meaningfulness in tensional ways from circumstances and factors that were both enabling and constraining, stemming from various organizational, professional and political structures. This occurs through ongoing negotiation that spans everyday work processes, the perceived impact of such work, and participants’ career positioning. In addition to examining meaningfulness as a dynamic and contested negotiation, rather than a purely positive outcome, the political implications of such meaning-making are traced. We close by discussing some implications for future research on meaningfulness of work.

Was this content written or created while at USF?

No

Citation / Publisher Attribution

Human Relations, v. 70, issue 5, p. 594-616