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Virginia Minni (IFS / Chicago Booth) – “Meaning at work”

November 14, 2023 @ 12:15 pm - 1:30 pm

Applied Micro Seminar : Every Tuesday
Time: 12:15 pm – 13:30 pm
Date: 14th of November
Room : 3001


Virginia Minni (IFS / Chicago Booth) – Meaning at work


Abstract :

Modern society is characterized by a clear demarcation between work and personal life, where work involves an exchange of time and ”costly” effort for money. And yet, social scientists have long posited that individuals get meaning from their work that extends beyond financial compensation. To investigate this, we run a cross-country field experiment in collaboration with a multinational company that offers one-day workshops that guide employees on how to connect their individual purpose with their work. We randomize the roll-out of the workshops among 3000 employees in 14 countries and track outcomes over the subsequent two years, including productivity and performance on the job, turnover, job changes, job satisfaction, team engagement, and well-being. We find that the workshop increases worker performance and wellbeing. More than half of the performance effect is explained by higher worker motivation, and the rest comes from changes in worker selection via exit and worker job allocation via lateral moves. The results indicate that a simple, cost-effective, and scalable intervention aimed at fostering personal meaning at work impacts worker outcomes by flattening the tradeoff between pay and meaning.

Coauthored with Nava Ashraf, Oriana Bandiera and Luigi Zingales.


Benoît SCHMUTZ (Pôle d’économie du CREST)
Clément MALGOUYRES (Pôle d’économie du CREST)