Management scholars within the disciplines of Organizational Behavior (OB), Human Resource Management (HRM or HR) and Industrial/Organizational (I/O) Psychology seek to study and promote employee productivity and welfare within organizations. While there are differing foci across these three disciplinary areas, their researchers and practitioners strive for equilibrium between the needs of employees and employers. Given this charter, it would be reasonable to expect that these fields would have deeply articulated philosophical roots regarding the nature of humanity, its social and physical systems, and the meaning associated with good work. Yet historically, apart from a perfunctory nod to Max Weber's identification and analysis of the Protestant work ethic on one hand, and the self-referenced agency theory on the other, there has been little articulation of the underlying assumptions associated with management scholarship, and even less still that has been developed from an explicitly faith-informed perspective. This lack of perspective has consequences for furthering both management theory and practice since the ideology or philosophical orientation associated with management research has important consequences for theory development, the nature of hypotheses, the format of the research methodology, the interpretation of study results, the organization of research within the larger prevailing worldview and ultimately, the practice of management and the quality of work life in organizations. The nascent work in Management, Spirituality and Religion and Positive Organizational Scholarship has begum to fill the gaps in a generally materialist orientation towards management research by emphasizing the non-materialist, transcendent and relational role that work has to play in connecting employees with a higher sense of purpose or meaning in life. However, with the lack of a common philosophical or theological framework, this research tends to use individual subjective experience as its criterion for determining what good work actually is. Although we do not argue with the value of work providing opportunities for subjective well-being or a personal sense of meaning, we do make the case that Christian theology can lead to the development of a more nuanced and objective approach to addressing work ideology beyond a generally positive and subjective orientation. The purpose of this paper is to draw upon the Christian themes of creation, fall and redemption to draw parallels with theories found in current management literature, and to articulate the meaning of good work.
Diddams, M., & Daniels, D. (2008). Good work with toil: A paradigm for redeemed work. Christian Scholar's Review, 38(1), 61-82.