Shizuka Modica

 Title: Leading Meaningfully for High Performance Shizuka Modica

Affiliation: The Kyoto College of Graduate Studies for Informatics


When we find our work meaningful, we willingly commit ourselves to excel beyond the call of our duty. A thorough understanding of how we make meaning is, for sure, important in managing not only our own but others’ performance. Yet how we make meaning is elusive at best to many of us.

Research on leadership and high performance has primarily evolved within the implicit framework of scientific management perspectives; it has not necessarily treated “meaningful work,” or internal workings of humans, as the central issue of organizational leadership or performance. However, the concept of “meaningful work” has progressively found its way to mainstream management literature and practices in the past decade – largely due to the globalization of workforce, the nature of knowledge work, better understanding on intrinsic motivational forces, and better psychometrics. Empirical research in the workplace clearly shows a strong link between a sense of meaningful work and high performance.

Naturally, organizational scholars, practitioners, and leaders are in search of workable meaning-making frameworks that can be applied to improve organizational and leadership effectiveness in turbulent economic environments. Indeed, a number of frameworks have emerged and are rigorously examined, some of which are represented at this conference. Organizational performance and leadership frameworks in synch with human nature offer us tremendous opportunities to re-think and re-organize our work in the face of the steady rise of social and conscious capitalism.

In this workshop, you will be introduced to a new framework that places “meaningful work” as the center of individual and organizational behavior and performance. Building on Self-Determination Theory and existential and positive psychology, the framework can explain how we make meaning in our work across industry, culture, age, gender, socio-economic status, etc. Once we understand how we make meaning in our work, we can apply our understanding to lead ourselves and others meaningfully in the ever-changing global economy.

Learning Objectives

You will explore and learn:

  • universal principles of motivational forces for positive meaning-making;
  • how you make meaning in your own work (self-assessment survey);
  • what your leadership challenges may be in your specific work contexts; and
  • how you can apply these universal principles to improve your work performance;
  • how you can create environments conducive to others’ positive meaning-making; and
  • what your action plans may be to lead yourself and others meaningfully.