The Dark Side of Deeply Meaningful Work: Work‐Relationship Turmoil and the Moderating Role of Occupational Value Homophily
Carrie R. Oelberger
Journal of Management Studies, 2019, vol. 56, issue 3, 558-588
How are close personal relationships experienced by people in deeply meaningful work? Drawing upon in‐depth interview data with 82 international aid workers, I offer three distinct contributions. First, I find that people who experience their work as deeply meaningful have high work devotion. I identify boundary inhibition as a mechanism to explain why they participate more willingly in overwork and erratic work, despite giving rise to time‐ and trust‐based conflict in their relationships. Second, I find that people with high work devotion often also experience emotional distance in their personal relationships when their close others don’t value their work – a context I call occupational value heterophily. This disconnection‐based conflict compounds the time‐ and trust‐based conflict and engenders an emotionally agonizing situation, which I call work‐relationship turmoil. Third, when close others do value their partner’s work – a context I call occupational value homophily – it fosters an emotional connection and offers an avenue for work‐relationship enrichment. These findings draw upon deeply meaningful work to detail the multi‐faceted work‐relationship experience among those with high work devotion.
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:bla:jomstd:v:56:y:2019:i:3:p:558-588
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