Meaningful Work, Meaning of Work, Callings, Identity, Culture
Year of entry: 2011
My research examines the individual, social, and cultural factors that drive people to seek meaningful work, and the process by which they find, forego or are frustrated in their attempt at doing so. The questions that motivate my research agenda are: When, why, and how does work become a central domain for meaning in peoples’ lives? And what role do personal, social and cultural factors play in shaping, facilitating, or hindering this process? For centuries, interest in the human quest for meaning was confined to the annals of philosophers and theologians. But with significant changes taking place in the way people live and work in modern societies, this question—and particularly its auxiliary: how people find meaning in their work—is now at the forefront of organisational scholarship. Understanding these fundamental questions is more pertinent than ever as more people express a desire and longing for meaningful work.
Finding Existential Meaning at Work: When and Why Do People Seek Existential Meaning at Work and how is it Maintained, Changed, or Lost?*
My dissertation ties the desire for meaningful work to the fundamental human drive to find meaning and purpose in life. Postulating self-transcendence as the main mechanism through which this occurs, in the first part of the dissertation, I examine the precursors that drive people to seek meaning in work versus non-work domains. I develop a theoretical model and propositions that shed light on when people channel their desire for existential meaning through the domain of work, and specify the organizational factors that facilitate or hinder this process. The second part of my dissertation builds on this existential perspective by focusing on the notion of work as a calling—a type of self-transcendent meaning, where people perceive their work as contributing to the greater good in socially, morally, and personally significant ways. Specifically, I examine how callings develop over time and whether, and how, social interactions with others influence this process. Utilizing qualitative methods, my primary data consists of interviews with 57 social entrepreneurs who are geographically dispersed across the world.
Committee: Jennifer Petriglieri (Chair), Henrik Bresman, Mark Mortensen, and Amy Wrzesniewski (Yale)
* Finalist, Organization Science/INFORMS Dissertation Proposal Competition 2015
Work in Progress
Madi, A. “It’s not all about Me, or all about Work: Searching and Finding Existential Meaning at and Beyond Work”. Conceptual working paper, (target, Organization Science)
Madi, A. “How callings develop and are influenced by social and interactional forces: the case of social entrepreneurs”. Empirical paper in preparation for submission (target, Administrative Science Quarterly)
Madi, A & Petriglieri, J. “What’s in a label: Emerging occupational identity and identification among social entrepreneurs”. Drafting manuscript (target, Organization Science).
Madi, A. “Winemaking on the frontlines: How winemakers construct culturally ascribed meaningful work narratives in Lebanon”. Data collection in progress. Ethnography and interviews
2011-2017 (expected) Ph.D. in Management (Organizational Behavior) INSEAD, France
2013 M.Sc. in Management INSEAD, France
2007 MBA Lebanese American University, Lebanon
2003 B.B.A American University of Beirut, Lebanon