The Meaning of Work from the Nigerian Perspective

Oluseyi Aju, Johnson J. Orugun, Ezekiel Evelyn Ilamosi


The concept of work is significant for a lot of people, considering the time that individuals devote to work in their lives, the numerous functions which it accomplishes for them and the fact that work is intertwined with other important aspects of daily life such as family, leisure, religion, and community life (England & Whiteley, 1990). This paper explores extant perspectives on the three patterns under the notion of work: a job, a career and a call (Wrzesniewski et al., 1997), and other conceptual perspectives on the meaning of work.  It provides further valuable insights to understanding of how employees find and create meaning and meaningfulness in their work. It explores the work orientation of Nigerians from two prominent patterns of disposition to work. (i.e deep work attachment and instrumental work attitude).  Findings from our review show that; lack of enthusiasm and deep work attachment permeates the work disposition of many Nigerians, who see their job as dull, toilsome, irritating, risky or dangerous. The care-free attitude of most Nigerian workers towards work has hampered human capital development in most organizations, considering the fact that poor quality work declines productivity and cripples development in all ramifications. In Nigeria, and most parts of Africa, most of the people clamor for gainful employment, but do not want to work. These categories of people are more interested in success without hard work, promotion without responsibility, result without process, and credence without work.

Keywords: Work, Self, Value, Orientation, Motivation, Belief

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