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Integrating perspectives: proposal for the analysis of work as a multifaceted phenomenon

Renato Koch Colomby, Andrea Poleto Oltramari, Maria Beatriz Rodrigues



Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to analyze the phenomenon of work fromeight different and subsidiary

perspectives: physiological, cultural, spiritual, ideological, economic, political, legal and psychosocial.


Design/methodology/approach – This study is based on an exploratory quantitative survey with a

probability sample composed of 407 cases. The bibliographic review resulted from several readings about the

phenomenon of work and the impacts arising from these different perspectives.


Findings – The analysis of the data collected confirmed that the meaning and the sense of work are

multifaceted. The authors also found that work is an important source of reflection and learning in people’s

life. The research instrument promoted thinking and analysis of the participants’ careers. The research

process resulted in mutual and interactive learning of investigators and investigation.


Research limitations/implications – The data collection came from a single source: a written

questionnaire. This limits the scope of the data and raises interpretative discussion concerning the contents of

the answers. For future reference, the authors suggest to complement it with different techniques of data

collection, associating qualitative and quantitative approaches.


Practical implications – The main contributions of the paper are, on the one hand, the effort of synthetizing

and recording eight different categories of analysis of the multiple and possible meanings of work, which were

elaborated using the available literature, and on the other hand, to understand and analyze those categories

using the perception of a numerically meaningful sample of the public, coming from different backgrounds.


Social implications – The purpose of this paper is to propose a guideline for future studies so that they

could choose with increased awareness the initial perspectives at the basis of the analyses. This study could

encourage continuity and provide greater incentives on this increasingly relevant subject.


Originality/value – After analyzing the data, it was acknowledged that work cannot be seen from a single

perspective, but it must be viewed in its multifaceted character and sense. The published material on the

meanings of work usually focuses on specific professions and careers, the authors argue that this fact limits

the scope of perspectives and interpretations of the phenomenon.


Keywords Labour, Meaning of labour, Sense of labour, Labour perspectives, Labour trajectories


Labour, Meaning of labour, Sense of labour, Labour perspectives, Labour trajectories

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