Although the centrality of work to people's lives is pervasive, it is only within the past few decades that objective, empirical accounts of the meaning of work for the average individual have been available. This volume adds an important dimension to the growing body of literature in this area by presenting a detailed examination of the meaning of work in Israel. The result of a 6-year research project designed to systematically explore the meaning of work in different occupational groups, the data is drawn from about 2000 structured interviews conducted among individuals in 10 target groups including, women, part-time workers, occupational and professional groups, age groups, unemployed and retired peopleand in a national sample representative of the total Jewish labor force. Based on his research, the author demonstrates how patterns of work meanings have developed and are determined by a variety of personal history and environmental factors and analyzes the consequences of different work meanings for individuals, organizations and society in general.
The author begins with an historical examination of the meaning of work in Israel from biblical times through the present. He then details the macro socioeconomic environment within which his study took place and presents the underlying theory and concepts that guided the research. Following a chapter that presents the study methodology, Harpaz investigates the developmental histories and consequences of different work meanings in order to understand the role of work meanings in industrial society. Individual chapters address issues such as the concept of work centrality, societal norms concerning work, the importance of work goals, definitions of work, the meaning of work patterns, and work role identification. In his final chapter, Harpaz assesses the relevance of his findings for Israeli society and future policy initiatives. Two appendices, one the study interview schedule and the other detailing the response distribution data for national sample and target groups, complete the study.
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About the Author
ITZHAK HARPAZ is a senior lecturer in Human Resources Management at the University of Haifa. He is the author of two previous books on job satisfaction and the meaning of work in Israel, and he co-authored a book on the meaning of work in eight countries.
Table of Contents
Work and Its Meaning through the Ages
Macro Socio-Economic Environment
Model and Concepts of the Meaning of Work
Measurement of the Meaning of Work
The Structure of the Meaning of Work
Societal Norms Concerning Work
Defining the Concept of Work
Meaning of Work Patterns
Consequences of the Meaning of Work
The Meaning of Work: Summary and Relevance for Israeli Society