CEOs Can Make Work Feel More Meaningful by Encouraging Innovation

15581668796_8177031141_zHow much impact does a CEO’s behavior have on employees’ perceptions of the meaningfulness of their work? A recent article published in Group & Organization Management suggests that CEO behavior, specifically intellectually stimulating behavior, can have a big impact on work meaningfulness, depending upon the organizational context. In “CEO Intellectual Stimulation and Employee Work Meaningfulness: The Moderating Role of Organization Context,” authors Ann Chunyan Peng, Hsing-Er Lin, John Schaubroeck, Edward F. McDonough III, Baomin Hu, and Aiguo Zhang delve into the relationship between CEO behavior and employees’ perceptions of work meaningfulness. The abstract from the paper:

This study examines the influence of CEOs’ intellectually stimulating behavior, namely, encouraging followers to bring up new perspectives and innovative approaches at work, on employees’ perceptions of the meaningfulness of their work. Drawing from a collective sensemaking lens, we predicted that such CEO behavior would have a greater impact on experienced meaningfulness of work in contexts in which inputs to attributing meaning are less certain and clear-cut. Specifically, weGOM_Feb_2016.indd examined the moderating roles of firm performance and industry dynamism. We surveyed the CEOs and employees from 43 firms in innovation-driven industries. Our results show lower firm performance or rapid and unpredictable changes in the industry are associated with a stronger positive relationship between CEO intellectual stimulation and employee work meaningfulness. We discuss the implications of our findings for organizational leadership practices.

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*Board meeting image credited to Christopher Michel (CC)

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