University of Oulu

Haarjärvi, T., Laari-Salmela, S. Examining the Role of Dignity in the Experience of Meaningfulness: a Process-Relational View on Meaningful Work. Humanist Manag J 7, 417–440 (2022).

Examining the role of dignity in the experience of meaningfulness : a process-relational view on meaningful work

Saved in:
Author: Haarjärvi, Tuure1; Laari-Salmela, Sari1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu Business School, Department of Marketing, Management and International Business, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 4600, FIN-90014, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2022
Publish Date: 2023-05-03


The objective of the present study is to examine the ethical grounding and process-relational nature of meaningful work through the relationship of dignity and meaningfulness. Adopting a practice lens, we show how a shift from methodological individualism to a process-relational worldview allows meaningful work to be understood through organizational activities rather than individual characteristics. Building on practice-based theorization, we present a process-relational model of meaningful work that 1) examines meaningfulness as a flow of experience in the stream of work activity events; 2) highlights how experiencing meaningfulness is embedded in social practices, distinguishing it as a social phenomenon that is defined by this embeddedness; 3) delineates situationality, historicity, and contextuality of meaningfulness; and 4) shows how meaningful work is grounded in the prioritization of dignity in the logic of practice. Accordingly, our model enables a more holistic understanding of how dignity functions as the ethical basis for the experience of meaningfulness in the context of work and organization.

see all

Series: Humanistic management journal
ISSN: 2366-603X
ISSN-E: 2366-6048
ISSN-L: 2366-603X
Volume: 7
Issue: 3
Pages: 417 - 440
DOI: 10.1007/s41463-022-00133-5
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 512 Business and management
Funding: Open Access funding provided by University of Oulu including Oulu University Hospital. The study has received no funding.
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2022. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit