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4 - Leveraging the Meaningfulness of Public Work

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 December 2020

James L. Perry
Affiliation:
Indiana University, Bloomington
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Summary

The chapter makes two arguments. First, the work done in public institutions is meaningful to employees simply because of the organization's publicness. In democracies, governments and public institutions are entrusted to make rules, provide public goods, and oversee common-pool resources. The chapter suggests that workers in public organizations find their jobs to be socially valuable and are motivated by the impact of their daily activities on society at large. The second argument advanced by the chapter is that public organizations can use a number of tools to leverage the meaningfulness of public work. Organizations can design work that creates direct contact between public employees and beneficiaries or alternatively use self-administered interventions to connect employees to beneficiaries. Job crafting is then discussed as a means to improve the meaningfulness of public sector work, and several considerations for public sector job crafting are discussed. The chapter concludes with a discussion of career counseling as a tool for helping public workers fulfill their perceived calling.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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