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Exploring the differences in perceptions of work importance and job usefulness to society between self-employed and employed individuals

Marcus T. Wolfe and Pankaj C. Patel

Journal of Business Venturing Insights, 2019, vol. 12, issue C

Abstract: A quintessential bane in the modern workforce is finding meaningful work, or work that is perceived to meaningfully contribute to society. Given that entrepreneurial undertakings are characterized by both fulfillment and challenges, whether self-employed individuals perceive their work to be more important or useful to society than those who are employed is an open question. Using two samples – 33,162 participants from 35 European countries in the 2015 European Work Conditions Survey (EWCS 2015), and 8110 participants from 36 countries in the 2015 International Social Survey Programme (2015 ISSP) – we examine the association between self-employment and the importance and usefulness to society that individuals assign to their work. We find that though there are no substantive differences between self-employed and employed individuals on doubts about the importance of their job (from EWCS 2015 sample), however, self-employed individuals do perceive their jobs to be more useful to society (from 2015 ISSP sample).

Keywords: Important work; Useful jobs; Self-employment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jbvi.2019.e00146

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