Meaningfulness Misfit: Consequences of Daily Meaningful Work Needs–Supplies Incongruence for Daily Engagement Academic Article uri icon


  • There is a general consensus that meaningful work is a positive attribute-at a general level, it attracts people to jobs and motivates positive outcomes. Yet, at the same time that organizations are focusing their attention on providing employees with greater meaning, day-to-day engagement of employees has been trending downward. In this study, we challenge several prevailing assumptions in the literature to suggest that, even though meaningful work is generally a sought after and desirable characteristic in a job, employees' daily experiences with their work present a more complex picture. Based on the idea that employees' construals of their daily experiences are more granular than those associated with their overall experiences, we use a person-environment fit lens to explore the idea that mismatches between meaningful work received and meaningful work needed on a given day may lead to lower engagement, both in situations of deficiency and excess. Based on a daily within-person examination, we found that although meaningfulness positively influenced daily engagement through increased attentiveness, both too little and too much meaningful work was fatiguing, reducing engagement levels. Combined, these findings suggest that the relationship between meaningful work and engagement is somewhat different depending on whether it is considered between-persons or within-person. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).

altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Vogel, R. M., Rodell, J. B., & Sabey, T. B.

citation count

  • 2

publication date

  • July 2020