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9 - Objective and Subjective Dimensions of Meaningful Waged Work

Towards a New Meaningful Work Framework

from Part III - Meaningful and Meaningless Waged Work

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 November 2023

Knut Laaser
Affiliation:
University of Stirling
Jan Ch. Karlsson
Affiliation:
Karlstads Universitet, Sweden
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Summary

This chapter develops a novel theory of meaningful work that is informed by the politics of working life perspectives and grounded in Critical Realism’s stratified theory of the human being. This combination allows us to identify the structural constraints and enablers of meaningful work as objective dimensions of meaningful work that interact with agential responses that we term subjective dimensions of meaningful work. Approaching meaningful work in this way promotes an understanding of meaningful waged work as a dynamic continuum that emerges from the interplay of its objective and subjective dimensions. The objective and subjective dimensions identify autonomy, dignity and recognition as the central pillars of meaningful waged work. The first part of this chapter recapitulates the relationship between structure and agency and establishes the key parameters of the stratified social ontology of human beings that guides our undertaking. This displays how the interplay between the structure, which is represented here as the objective dimensions of meaningful work, and the agential responses to it, encapsulated in the subjective dimensions of meaningful work, culminate in the experience of different forms of meaningful work or its absence.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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