This mixed method study examined how educational employees in 3 public school districts in southeast Michigan make and/or create a sense of meaning in their work and sought to understand how relationships influence employee's sense of meaningfulness. Quantitative data collection came from a survey combining the Job Crafting Questionnaire (JCQ) and the Work and Meaning Index (WAMI). 266 employees completed the survey. Qualitative data collection included interviewing 17 employees with representation from each role category and each school district. This study found personnel working in the field of education in southeast Michigan find their work highly meaningful; and that relationships are a rudimentary factor, playing a significant role in how educational staff make meaning in their work. Additionally, findings have valuable implications for education systems informing approaches for staff engagement and retention, employee performance, internal organizational learning and building cultures of strong inter-personal and professional feedback.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Education -- Michigan -- Employees -- Attitudes; Employee motivation -- Michigan; Employee morale -- Michigan

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graziadio Business School



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Julie Chesley