The Meaning of Work in Life

Especially in the capitalist organizing of our society is work a central aspect of life, not only for an existential reason, and being a timely part of life, but also for the subject’s identity, social role, and meaning-making.
Research on work is located in the broader field of social psychology but calls out a standalone field of industrial and organizational (I/O) or work- and organizational psychology (WOP). However, work- and organizational psychology are predominated by positivist approaches and are located within business schools and leaning toward management studies and their approaches.
Both in teaching, practice, and research WOP perspectives follow largely a business case perspective, neglecting critical stances and the perspectives of subjects, their identity, well-being, meaning-making, and dignity.
With progressive research on work, meaning, and ethics migrating/ being coerced to neighbouring fields and their journals (e.g. cultural studies/ interdisciplinary and social psychology journals), important and meaningful topics remain in the margins of WOP and are often overseen in the discourses. This includes methodological approaches, including qualitative, explorative, reconstructive, discursive, and phenomenological methods, critical stances centering the subjects, and metatheoretical theory building just as an actual change in practices.
This project conducts critical research following the question “What does work mean in life?” and “What is (meaningless/meaningful) work?”. While pursuing these questions, we sustain publishing and community building in CWOP, and implement meaningful and innovative knowledge transfer, teaching, and teaching mobility just as consulting for organizations.
This project is fellow of the CWOP and FoWOP associations.

Project Lead:
Dr. Johanna Degen
Dr. Francesco Tommasi