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




Morrison, Eileen E.
Burke, George C.
Greene, Lloyd

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Southern Public Administration Education Foundation


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.



motivation, health care organizations, employees retention, health care management, Health Administration


Morrison, E. E., Burke, G. C., Greene, L. (2007). Meaning in motivation: Does your organization need an inner life? Journal of Health and Human Services Administration, 30(1), pp. 98-115.


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