Daena Lee


Meaningfulness at work has been shown to be a positive contributor to employee engagement, performance, commitment and an extensive list of other desirable factors. The Millennial generation appears to be the largest and fastest growing generation since the Baby Boomers. Some managers have said some Millennials seem difficult to manage because their expectations of work upon entering the workforce seem so much higher than previous generations. This qualitative research project explored how Millennials at a small business find meaningfulness at work and to what extent their leaders create an environment of meaningfulness. Millennials at a small business were interviewed to explore their thoughts about meaningfulness at work. The resulting data was examined using content analysis. Mechanisms of meaning, hindrances to the perception of meaning, and pathways to meaningfulness at work were used to categorize the data. Millennials in this study appeared to find meaning at work through recognition of their competence and perceived impact, interpersonal connectedness and self-concordance. Being taken for granted and unfairness seem to be significant hindrances to the perception of meaningfulness at work for Millennials in this study. Meaningfulness at work for participant Millennials appeared to happen when their contributions had a positive perceived impact on the organization and their multi-generational coworkers.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (MA) -- Organization Development; Generation Y -- Employment; Job satisfaction; Intergenerational relations

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graziadio Business School



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Rhodes, Kent;