University as a workplace : searching for meaningful work
Riivari, E., Malin, V., Jääskelä, P., & Lukkari, T. (2020). University as a workplace : searching for meaningful work. Teaching in Higher Education, 25 (3), 286-304. doi:10.1080/13562517.2018.1563061
Published inTeaching in Higher Education
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Work in academia is changing, and research suggests that not all the changes are desirable. Higher education is developing in a direction heavily criticized, especially in relation to the concepts of neoliberal and academic capitalism. In this article, we explore meaningful work in a university context. Our focus lies on individual lecturers’ positive opportunities to make work meaningful and the university a better place to work for both students and faculty. We examine meaningful work as a relational phenomenon: how meaningfulness is constructed through features such as dialogue, expertise, interaction and sharing of ideas. Our empirical findings are based on analysis of qualitative and quantitative data collected in a business school management course deliberately developed to promote cooperation, interaction and shared learning as central tenets of meaningful work. Both faculty members’ and students’ perspectives on meaningful work are discussed.