IRSST - Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail

Making work meaningful - Promoting psychological well-being


Work that is given meaning has vitaminic effects on the worker’s mental health and inspires his commitment towards an organization, while work without meaning promotes the appearance of symptoms of stress, and even distress. Using questionnaires, the research team collected data from the personnel in four organizations in order to demonstrate that characteristics such as the usefulness of the work, the moral rectitude of the work, learning and development opportunities, autonomy, recognition and the quality of human relations were tied to the meaning that people give to their work. They also observed that work that is seen as being useful to society and that makes it possible to learn are factors that influence people’s perception of it. Other hypotheses relating to the positive or negative impact of the meaning given to work on psychological well-being or distress also emerged. The researchers developed a theoretical model that presents work organization as a determining factor of employees’ health, attitudes and performance. If a person has a positive perception of his work activities, his working conditions, and the relationships with his coworkers and supervisor, he will tend to find meaning in his work, and as a result, to feel physically and psychologically well in it. Conversely, if his perception is negative, he will tend to consider that his work and the environment in which he works have no meaning. Consequently, the person will present symptoms of stress or distress. The researchers also noted that ethical and moral problems constitute a growing concern in workplaces.

Additional Information

Category: Research Report
  • Estelle Morin
  • Charles Gagné
Research Project: 0099-1930
Online since: September 29, 2009
Format: Text