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Appears in Collections:Management, Work and Organisation Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Towards a Sociology of Meaningful Work
Author(s): Laaser, Knut
Karlsson, Jan
Keywords: critical realism
formal organization
labour agency
labour process
meaningful work
politics of working life
Issue Date: 17-Dec-2021
Date Deposited: 20-Jan-2022
Citation: Laaser K & Karlsson J (2021) Towards a Sociology of Meaningful Work. Work, Employment and Society.
Abstract: In the last decade, research on the nature, impact and prospect of meaningful work has flourished. Despite an upsurge in scholarly and practitioner interest, the research field is characterized by a lack of consensus over how meaningful work should be defined and whether its ingredients are exclusively subjective perceptions or solely triggered by objective job characteristics. The disconnection between objective and subjective dimensions of meaningful work results in a hampered understanding of how it emerges in relation to the interplay of workplace, managerial, societal and individual relations. The article addresses this gap and introduces a novel sociological meaningful work framework that features the objective and subjective dimensions of autonomy, dignity and recognition as its key pillars. In this way, a framework is offered that analyses how meaningful work is experienced at the agent level, but shaped by wider dynamics at the structural level.
DOI Link: 10.1177/09500170211055998
Rights: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (
Notes: Output Status: Forthcoming/Available Online
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