2nd Symposium on Meaningful Work

Exploring meaningfulness in the 21st century

Author: Sandra Noronha

The 2nd symposium on Meaningful Work, was held on 1-2 December at the Sir Paul Reeves building. Titled ‘Meaningful Work: Prospects for the 21st Century’ the conference was convened by Professor Lips-Wiersma, Professor – Ethics and Sustainability and co-hosted by Oxford, Sussex and George Washington Universities.
The conference was uniquely interdisciplinary, with papers from political science, corporate responsibility, labour relations, organisational behaviour, counselling, social entrepreneurship and career perspectives. The papers focused on meaningful work within the context of the latest stage in capitalist development, where technology, global markets, financialisation and increasing instability interact to create intense pressures on how work is organised and experienced.

Both practitioners and academics delighted in the rich understandings they gained from interacting with each other and through engaging sessions covering a myriad of themes like callings, careers and the boundaries of meaningful work, meaningful work and a meaningful life, the philosophy and experience of meaningful work and more.

It was also a great opportunity to better understand the impact of diversity on meaningful work as the conference was attended by scholars from Northern Europe, the UK, India, China, Canada, the US and Oceania.
Pauline Davies (Locality Manager, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS foundation Trust), one of the conference attendees said,” The symposium was very successful as it brought together people from around the globe and leaders in the field. I personally found the conference very helpful as a manager and a doctoral student. It was inspiring to hear about meaningful work initiatives in different contexts and meet others with similar research interests. I now look forward to the next symposium.”

Commenting on a successful conference, Professor Lips-Wiersma said, “Bringing together well-known researchers from a variety of fields led to rich, thorough and practical perspectives on meaningful work.”
“Thanks to the NZ Work Research Institute, the hospitality students and the Events team, the conference also showed AUT as a wonderfully welcoming place. We are now looking forward to the 2018 symposium in Amsterdam.”

About Meaningful Work:
Meaningful work is a key research focus for Professor Lips-Wiersma, who has spent the last fifteen years understanding the theme of meaningful work in practical and empirical ways. Her research led to the creation of the Map of Meaning, which shows the key elements necessary for meaningful work and meaningful living. In September 2016, Professor Lips-Wiersma gave a Professorial Address on meaningful work. It can be viewed here.

Presentations from the symposium are available here.