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Meaning in Motivation: Does Your Organization Need an Inner Life?

Author: EILEEN E. MORRISON, GEORGE C. BURKE III, and LLOYD GREENE
Published in JHHSA, Vol. 30 No. 1

Leaders of health care organizations are increasingly
interested in ways to attract, retain, and gain commitment from their
employees. This interest is created in part because high turnover rates
and the lack of commitment negatively affect the provision of care and
the bottom line in their organizations. In a quality and cost conscious
health care environment, health care managers need to find solutions
for these difficult issues; solutions that are effective, efficient and
sustainable. What can be done?
This article reviews, amplifies, and extends work that has been
done in the area of “meaningfulness of work” in the context of
employee retention and commitment. It begins with an exploration of
the problems caused by lack of employee engagement and commitment
including their impact on quality and costs. It then summarizes both the
theoretical and applied research in the area of meaning and work. It
also introduces the basic principles of Viktor Frankl’s logotherapy
(Frankl, 1998) as a foundation for encouraging the integration of
meaning and work. The seminal work by Pattakos (2004) is used to
demonstrate how Frankl’s principles can be applied to healthcare work
settings. Finally, the article provides suggestions for increasing
employee commitment and engagement through identifying meaning
and purpose in work.

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