• Shizuka Modica – Development and Validation of the Meaning-of-Work Theory for High Performance
  • Megumi Fieldsend – “You’re gonna die, never having experienced having a baby”: an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of the experience of involuntary childlessness
  • Kirsty Gardiner –   Why we need to talk: Deriving meaning in interpersonal communication
  • Evalyne Thauvoye – Spirituality as an important source for meaning in life: Revealing the unique relation between the separate spirituality and meaning dimensions.

 

Shizuka Modica

Affiliation: Professor of Organizational Behavior and Leadership Kyoto College of Graduate Studies for Informatics

Title: Development and Validation of the Meaning-of-Work Theory for High Performance

implications for practice: The MOW Theory can adequately explain how we construct meaning in our work, can potentially predict our work performance, and thus can be used as a tool for performance management and organizational development with further validation. Furthermore, the time is right to re-assess the relationship between “meaning” and “purpose” because the accurate assessment of this particular relationship will significantly influence the development of future research and practice on “meaningful work.”

implications for research: The MOW Theory can adequately explain how we construct meaning in our work, can potentially predict our work performance, and thus can be used as a tool for performance management and organizational development with further validation. Furthermore, the time is right to re-assess the relationship between “meaning” and “purpose” because the accurate assessment of this particular relationship will significantly influence the development of future research and practice on “meaningful work.”

Abstract

The author will develop and validate the Meaning-of-Work (MOW) Theory for High Performance Survey. This theory is primarily built on Deci and Ryan’s Self-Determination Theory (SDT) and Ryff’s Psychological Well-Being model. In many areas of literature (e.g., existential psychology, positive psychology, philosophy, and management), the relationship between “meaning” and “purpose” is historically either equal counterparts or “meaning” is a construct somewhat subordinate to “purpose.” However, the author’s initial theoretical and qualitative research indicated that “purpose” – specifically “higher purpose” is one of the fundamental variables in constructing “meaning” in our work. The MOW Theory positions “higher purpose” as one of the subordinate variables for meaning-making.

In the previous study, the following two hypotheses were statistically established:

  1. The MOW Theory for High Performance can explain how we make meaning in our work. In other words, a significant regression equation was found.
  2. The MOW Theory for High Performance Survey yields results similar to other instruments such as the Work and Meaning Inventory (WAMI) and SDT. In other words, correlations between the MOW Theory Survey items and other established survey items were significant, indicating the validity of the MOW Survey.

Based on these findings, the author will take on the next step in developing and validating the MOW Theory for High Performance Survey. The author will describe how the survey items to measure all variables were developed and assess the reliability and construct validity of the survey scores.

 

Kirsty Gardiner

Title: Why we need to talk: Deriving meaning in interpersonal communication

Affiliation: Queen Mary University of London

implications for practice: The work suggests that one medium through which we can look to enhance meaning is through conversation. In terms of practical implications, this work paves the way for potential communication based meaning interventions.

implications for research: This work looks at how meaning might be gained through the conversations we have with close others. Implications for research include new ways to look at the concept of meaning within SOCIAL contexts, and new ways to address HOW meaning might be made and enhanced.

 

Abstract:

Our social relationships – connections with partners, friends, family members, and social groups – are significant contributors to our psychological health and well-being. However, the intricacies of why these relationships promote health and well-being remains unclear. Drawing upon the theory of thriving through relationships (Feeney & Collins, 2014) we contend that social relationships promote health and well-being because of the MEANING  that can be gained from them. More precisely, the conversations that individuals have may allow them to better understand who they are in relation to close others, and these meaningful conversations may offer a pathway to psychological health and well-being. To test this idea, qualitative and correlational studies examined the nature of meaningful conversations (Study 1) and the relationships between meaningful conversations and individual and relational well-being (Studies 2 and 3, respectively) among individuals in romantic relationships. Findings indicate that certain conversation topics that are important for how one understands themselves (i.e. goals, values and beliefs) are perceived to be more meaningful than others (i.e. daily life topics), and that these meaningful topics are less frequently engaged in (Study 2). Moreover, these meaningful topics were associated with several well-being outcomes including: positive affect, relational satisfaction, commitment, trust, social support, closeness, and perceived partner responsiveness (Study 3). These results suggest that the perceived meaningfulness of the conversations we have with close others, may have a significant bearing on our individual happiness and relational satisfaction.

 

Megumi Fieldsend

Title: You’re gonna die, never having experienced having a baby”: an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of the experience of involuntary childlessness

Affiliation: Birkbeck, University of London

implications for practice: This study features the psychological impact that involuntary childlessness has on women in their everyday lives. On-going emotional struggles may not appear as a symptom but may trigger existential concerns. The findings point to the importance of relational reconnectedness as a facilitator in reconstructing personal meaning-making as well as rebuilding the identity in society, suggesting important practical implications for counsellors and health professionals.

implications for research: The study offers a detailed examination of how women strive to reconstruct their lives without children they hoped for, demonstrating the value of idiographic, in-depth exploration of a less researched area. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) facilitates a meaning-centered experiential approach on much needed  psychological research on involuntary childlessness.

Abstract:

Purpose:  This study explores the experience of women living with involuntary childlessness in midlife.

Background: Having children is a milestone in adult development bringing new meanings in one’s life. However, for those who are involuntarily childless, life without the heartfelt wish of motherhood can affect people in different ways and the meaning of life itself comes under question. While many studies on childlessness focus on infertility and it’s treatment experiences, little is known about how involuntarily childless women live their everyday lives and the psychological impact childlessness can have when friends and contemporaries pursue their lives with children.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a homogenous sample of 11 white British women living in the UK, aged between 45 and 55, in heterosexual relationships. Participants self-identified as involuntarily childless and no longer trying to have children. Audio-recorded face-to-face interviews were transcribed and analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis.

Findings and conclusions: Participants described ongoing feelings of grief, angst and depression over the absence of children. Difficulties in finding shared meanings with people with children were found to have significant influences on identity development. However, finding ways of relational reconnections, where interpersonal and intrapersonal meaning integration takes place, were found to be a core feature for participants striving to live their lives meaningfully. Participant centered experiential analysis of IPA facilitates in giving voices to those living with childlessness. The study hopes to offer a holistic view that has practical implications for counsellors and health professionals, as well as raising awareness in society.

Evalyne Thauvoye

 Title: Spirituality as an important source for meaning in life: Revealing the unique relation between the separate spirituality and meaning dimensions.

Affiliation: KU Leuven (Belgium)

implications for practice: This study can contribute to more effective interventions in various care settings by providing a better understanding of spiritual and existential processes.

implications for research: This study can provide more insight in the dimensional make-up of both meaning in life and spirituality as well as the relation between these two constructs.

Abstract:

Research suggest that spirituality functions as an important source and predictor of meaning in life. Although scholars agree on the complex dimensional structure of both spirituality and meaning, research on the spirituality-meaning relation is still characterized by a lack of insight in the unique relationship between the separate spirituality and meaning dimensions. This question becomes particular interesting when ones take into account different religious orientations and worldviews since research have shown that they function as important meaning systems for particular groups of individuals. To unravel this complex relation, a study will be set up in which the link between spirituality and meaning in life will be examined by following the three-dimensional model of meaning proposed by Martela and Steger (2016) and the dimensional structure of spirituality proposed by de Jager Meezenbroek and colleagues (2012). More specific, in the first place we will examine to what extent different religious worldviews affect the preference for particular spirituality dimensions by comparing groups of individuals with different religious worldviews. Subsequently we will investigate to what extent the fulfillment of the three meaning in life dimensions is determined by the different worldviews and the related spiritual profiles.

This submission is based on student work.