Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




As the employment landscape continues to change through rapid advancements in technology, globalization, and the growing presence of contingent work opportunities, what remains the same is workers' quest towards decent and meaningful work (MW). Such work depends on employees' perception that their work is important and that it contributes to their own growth, as well as to that of society. Emergent research on the construct points to a host of benefits associated with obtaining MW. Among these include greater vocational satisfaction, increased organizational commitment, and improved job engagement. However, not all individuals have access to such work. Differences in social status (in terms of differential access to economic resources, social power, and social prestige) are proposed as particularly salient in the experience of MW, precisely because workers from lower social status backgrounds often face barriers in occupational choice. Additionally, individual-level differences in terms of both intrinsic and extrinsic work motivation can moderate the proposed relationship between social status and MW. the goal of the present study was to explicate the relationships between these variables, with the hope of understanding what makes work significant and for whom. Using data from a sample of 207 employed adults, correlational and hierarchical multiple regression analyses were used to examine the impact of social status on MW, and to test the moderating effect of intrinsic and extrinsic work motivation on this proposed relationship. Results from these analyses offered support for the first hypothesis of this study that predicted a positive relationship between individuals' social status and their experience of MW. Specifically, the regression results indicated that gender, social status, intrinsic and extrinsic work motivation all were significant predictors towards participants' meaningful work scores. in contrast to the study's second hypothesis, no moderation effects of intrinsic and extrinsic work motivation were observed. an overview of these findings and implications for practice are included in the latter half of this manuscript. Also included are limitations and suggestions for future research on this important construct and its many unexamined correlates.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.