| Organizational Service Projects
A lack of meaning at work and a low level of organizational identification may be significant problems for many people. If people could engage in tasks that allow them to use their most important talents to make a significant contribution to the organization, it may increase their sense of organizational identification and experienced meaning in their work.
Task Significance and Meaning in Work
Task significance is one variable in the job characteristics model (Hackman & Oldham, 1976) that is proposed to influence the experienced meaningfulness of work. Task significance is the impact of one's work on others. Greater perceived meaningfulness of work has been found to be associated with greater task significance (e.g., Johns, Xie, & Fang, 1992; Renn & Vandenberg, 1995). (1)
Organizational identification reflects the extent to which one's sense of self is linked to being part of the organization. It reflects a sense of oneness with the organization.
Organizational Service Projects
Just as community service projects may help us feel that we are making an important contribution to our communities, working on project that can benefit an organization may help us feel we are making an important contribution to the organization. If these organizational service projects provide us with a sense of task significance, they may increase the perceived meaningfulness of our work.
Also, if the organizational service projects foster self-expression that is linked to making an important contribution to the organization, it may increase a feeling of organizational identification.
All employees could be allowed to work on an organizational service project for at least one hour each week. They should be paid for this hour each week. In consultation with management, each employee could develop a proposal for the project. Below are some guidelines that could be used in selecting a project:
1. The project could be a company social event, a training program, a
manual, or a creative project (such as artwork for the office).
2. The project should involve some of the employee's most important
3. Management should perceive that the employee has the ability to achieve the
goals of the project.
4. The employee should perceive the project as meaningful, challenging,
rewarding, and a reflection of their personality.
5. The project should be perceived by management and the employee
as having a potential to make a significant original contribution to
Organizations need to realize that employees may need to involve themselves in something other than their normal job duties to feel that they are making a significant contribution to the organization. Organizational service projects can be viewed as one type of job enrichment.
Organizations that utilize these organizational service projects may foster greater task significance, job satisfaction, meaning in work, and organizational identification. If employees have a greater sense of job satisfaction, meaning in work, and organizational identification, they may be more productive, happy, and committed to the organization.
1. Because these findings are correlational, we cannot make causal conclusions from the findings. See Bell (2007) for more information about finding meaning in work.
Bell, B. (2007). Finding Meaning, (3rd ed.). Portland, Oregon:
Blue Fox Communications.
Hackman, J. R., & Oldham, G. R. (1976). Motivation though the design
of work: Test of a theory. Organizational Behavior and Human
Performance, 16, 250-279.
Johns, G., Xie, J. L., & Fang, Y. (1992). Mediating and moderating effects
in job design. Journal of Management, 18, 657-676.
Renn, R. W., & Vanderberg, R. J. (1995). The Critical psychological states:
An underrepresented component in job characteristics model research.
Journal of Management, 21, 279-303.