Exploring the Concept of Individual Workplace Well-Being: What does it mean to have Workplace Well-being and What is the Role of Identity-Related Resources in Achieving it?
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
When exploring workplace phenomena such as well-being, it is important to recognise the context in which the experience takes place. For example, many contemporary jobs require people to interact with others or to work in groups. Therefore, the social dimension of the workplace well-being experience calls for recognition in research. Keeping the social context of work in mind, the PhD programme had two research aims in order to develop current understanding further on what well-being encompasses and what the best ways are to enhance it. The first aim was to explore relevant components of individual workplace well-being. The second aim was to explore the relevance of two antecedents of individual workplace well-being: Authenticity and social identification were conceptualized through an identity lens as identity-related resources, incorporating the personal self (authenticity) and the social self (shared social identity). Well-being experience accounts of managers, consultants, and staff from different work contexts were explored in two studies through questionnaires, interviews, and focus groups and then analysed with thematic qualitative content analysis. The findings suggest that well-being descriptions from people who work are aligned with existing well-being concepts. Furthermore, the social aspect of well-being was indeed highlighted through the frequent use of indicators such as feeling connected with others, high interaction, and collaboration. In addition, depending on whose well-being was explored, different workplace well-being components were referred to in descriptions of the experience. The findings further suggest that the identity-related resources can act as positive, negative, or irrelevant resources for well-being depending on the work context (i.e. job role and work characteristics). This research indicates that the social aspect of the well-being is a prevalent part of the experience and is not just important in itself but is also for successfully working together with others. Furthermore, any action to improve well-being needs to be tailored to the characteristics of the work context and the workers themselves.
Doctor of Philosophy in Leadership Studies