Is Task Significance Associated with
Perceived Meaning in Work?
What is task significance? Task significance is the
impact of one's work on others. People may desire to
feel that they are making a significant contribution to
the organization. Making a significant contribution to
an organization may foster a sense of purpose and
meaning. 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) We cannot make casual
conclusions from the above correlational findings.
Nonetheless, it may be a good idea if all employees in a
company could be allowed to work on a project for a
few hours a week that would greatly benefit the
organization. The project could be a training program, a
manual, or a creative project (e.g., such as artwork for
the office). This may increase a sense of task
significance, purpose, and meaning in one's work.
1. Task significance is just one factor in the job
characteristics model that influences the experienced
meaningfulness of work. See Hackman and Oldman
(1980) for a description of the job characteristics model.
Hackman, J. R., & Oldham, G. R. (1980). Work
redesign. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley
Renn, R. W., & Vandenberg, R. J. (1995). The
Critical Psychological States: An Underrepresented
Component in Job Characteristics Model Research.
Journal of Management, 21, 279-303.
Johns, G., Xie, J. L., & Fang, Y. (1992). Mediating
and moderating effects in job design. Journal
of Management, 18, 657-676.