Changes in the technological environment of work already in motion over the last few years, but accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, place individuals' search for meaningfulness in their work under a new light. In this context, we draw on enrichment theory and the ego-depletion perspective and challenge the prevailing notion that meaningfulness is always positive and hypothesize that, under certain conditions, there can be such a thing as “too much meaningfulness.” A two-wave study of 243 full-time employees working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States offers support for a nonlinear effect of meaningfulness of work for workaholics, such that it has a positive effect on individuals up to a certain point, but a negative effect if there are excessive amounts of meaningfulness. We discuss these findings in light of the debate around the moral duty of managers and firms to offer meaningful jobs to employees and offer practical suggestions for firms.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Business and International Management
- Strategy and Management