The Sociomaterial Negotiation of Social Entrepreneurs’ Meaningful Work. / Symon, Gillian; Whiting, Rebecca.

In: Journal of Management Studies, Vol. 56, No. 3, 05.2019, p. 655-684.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



This research examines the role of digital technology in the constitution of meaningful work. Adopting a sociomaterial perspective, we argue that meaningful work emerges as an outcome of a complex negotiation between individuals and their digital devices. This process was explored through video diaries and interviews with social entrepreneurs, capturing moments of their everyday meaning-making and encouraging reflexivity. Accounting for their sociomaterial practice led participants to reaffirm their work as uniquely meaningful, produce more nuanced accounts of meaningfulness and/or make pragmatic adjustments to their meaning making. Whilst authenticity was a key meta-narrative in these accounts, it also produced tensional knots which, in their unravelling, required the adoption of more practicable meanings of work. The paper concludes by urging scholars to de-centre the human from their analysis to provide a more complete account of meaningful work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)655-684
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Management Studies
Issue number3
Early online date19 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - May 2019
This open access research output is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

ID: 31436095