Abstract of Session Meaning in work and Possible linkages to Karma Yoga

Meaning in work and Possible linkages to Karma Yoga.

Employees spend most of their waking time at work. Work forms more than half of their waking time. Moreover, employees have different work routines. Employees at lower level of hierarchy often have routine, repetitive, mind numbing activities. They have very less discretion, autonomy, and freedom in the content or process of their work routines. And this routine repeats for years. How these employees find meaning in work in such situation?

Research in work domain demonstrated that certain employees “craft” their jobs to bring more meaning to it. They add, emphasize, and redesign tasks. They also adopt, reframe, and build their relationships at work. They change their perceptions towards the work. The whole process is labelled as “Job crafting” in behaviour science.

Research also shows that the employees, who “craft” their job has different relationship with their work. They “feel” for their work, they are intrinsically motivated. They are least concerned about the monetary benefits, position, and power in career advancement. Sociologists and psychologists termed this as calling. Calling is originated in Christian theology and has found a place in positive psychology.

We argue that concept of Karma Yoga originated in Indian ethos, is distinct from calling, but explain the behaviour of employees that transcends monetary and career-like behaviour.

Presentation draws from scholarly work in the area of meaning, Job-crafting, calling, and Karma Yoga literature. We use mainstream, everyday example to elucidate the concept of job-crafting. Karma Yoga is emerging area in contemporary management, hence we draw from Swami Vivekananda’s Karma Yoga ideal and contemporary management literature in Karma Yoga to reflect on possible linkages in this area.

Presentation is divided in two parts, first part focuses on job crafting, and second part focuses on Karma Yoga. It briefly touches the concept of meaning in work and calling. This way we discuss Indian ethos in contemporary management. Session uses mainstream, popular examples, and terminology to cater to student audience. Few important and useful references in Karma Yoga will be discussed in the end.

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