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Meaning Making in the Building Business: The Cognitive and Behavioral Processes Architects Use to Make their Work Meaningful. Heather Vough University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Department of Business Administration 3/31/2007. Roadmap. Research Questions and Definitions
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Department of Business Administration
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Bold= job characteristics model
MeaninglessnessFindings: Meaning- Making Processes
“I want to make an impact. And maybe if I didn’t get the opportunity, I would have to reevaluate. Maybe this impact could be done other ways. Just like helping other people around me. You know, there’s meaning in that. I guess I would just have to reevaluate, how can I achieve this impact on other folks?” (Senior Associate 18, 1)*.
* (Informant position, identifying number, wave of data collection)
“I also do a lot of side work too. I do pro bono work for [the city’s] public schools. This I do on my own. ABS really doesn’t know about it. I do that on my own to just kind of stimulate my own need for designing and being creative on a different level” (Associate 20, 1).
“I’ve done housing and stuff like that, but I wasn’t exposed to big commercial jobs and stuff like that. I looked at it as an opportunity to just learn… look at other people’s drawings and just sort of be a sponge for a while” (Senior Vice President 22, 1).
“You know I think most of the time you’re focusing on the task that you have to do today. ..You kind of have to focus yourself on the big picture from time to time cause you can lose track of that” (Vice President 60, 2).
“There’s obviously times when you know you kind of wonder- Why am I doing this? Why am I doing this? But I think the big picture is just the outcome that you see at the end. I think its just like with anything, there’s obviously some joy when you see the building get built and the people come to use it for what it was intended to be” (Senior Associate 11, 1).
(referring to times when he is assigned a “dumb” task) “Meaningful work would be if someone’d give me a task or job whatever and I was able to accomplish it in even faster record time than I had before” (Associate 87, 2).
(discussing copies he had made for a presentation) “It was very important to me that, well I guess pride had to do with it. I take a lot of pride in making sure that things are done right” (Senior Associate 18, 1).
“Your destiny is whatever you choose it to be. If I knew that I would have to stay and build condos for like the next five years, I’d obviously speak up about it. I would speak up about it. And they’re very accommodating here too” (Intern 68, 1).
(discussing being given “secretarial” tasks to do) “When it goes on and on and on and you’re never learning anything, you know how are you ever supposed to do what they need you to do? So if I see something like that emerging, I’ll kind of like go have a talk with [management] and give them a chance to do something else. And if it doesn’t happen, then I usually move on” (Associate 25, 1).And she did…
“I’m good at it, but I don’t like it. So I delegate management. I’ll pick the most capable management person on my team and have them do the management…but I’ll set it up and I’ll run away from the vicious bunny” (Principal 23, 1).
“Just recently I’ve gone through my own personal exercise of figuring out these strengths I have and maybe I can use them. That’s just my confidence. If I know I’m really good at something, and it doesn’t happen to be nuts and bolts, then maybe that’s okay. I can use those to find that niche. So yeah, I’m getting there. I’ve just got to figure it out, I’ve got to write them down, evaluate” (Senior Associate 18, 2).
“I think it’s a slow realitization that is probably a combination of age and maturity and not one specific thing other than at some point recognizing I had a lousy day today, I really hated it. And other days its hey I had fun today you know, I enjoyed what I was doing today. Its just balancing those two I think. … its just something you have to come to terms with, in terms of there’s always going to be days where you love what you’re doing, there’s always days when you’ll hate it” (Senior Vice President 30, 3).
“Knowing that you’ve been through that before, you know. And it always comes back up. . . I think that you just know that there’s going to be sort of the up and down… knowing that you’ve been through those sort of lulls and ups, knowing that ultimately something is going to get you going again. Pretty normal human nature I think, to get into a duldrum” (Senior Vice President 22, 1).
“You gotta do it, I mean its still a job. You gotta do what you gotta do. Make it the best you can. You’ve gotta struggle sometimes” (Principal 23, 3).
Interviewer: “Can you describe a time when you thought your work was pointless? Less significant to you?”
Informant: “Yeah I guess when you’re doing work for someone else that you know they haven’t really thought out any of the consequences of why they’ve asked you to do a particular thing and you do it anyways because they are your boss or whatever and you just do it because you have to” (Associate 86, 1).
Interviewer: “Have you ever had to struggle to figure out how your work had meaning to you?”
Informant: “Maybe. And maybe those are the times where I just tell myself this is a job, it’s a job. Just like anything else is a job” (Associate 86, 3).
“Part of me is actually thinking how architecture fits into my life is maybe not a big part of it, as it is now. I’m getting to the point now where I think I could make that decision” (Associate 33, 3).
“There are projects that I will certainly try to do good work on but I will not be emotionally invested in them because I know there’s a dissatisfaction quotient out there, either in the manager or something else” (Principal 23, 1).
“I don’t know if you ever look at banks, but Harris banks are really cool. I’d love to do that, and do that whole idea of a bank to a medical office building. But I don’t think this client would do that so I’m not really worried about it cause I don’t think I’m going to be able to go that way” (Associate 87, 1).
- Number of meaningful targets
- Relative weight of meaningful
- Number of alienated targets
States of Meaning
Meaning of Work
Targets of Meaning