Map of Meaningful Work


The Map of Meaningful Work is an excellent resource for leaders in aged care.  As aged care sector innovates and leaders are facing the constant demands of reform, workforce retention and differentiation of services, this book introduces the Map of Meaning which provides a clear, simple and profound framework of the dimensions and process of living and working meaningfully.  The Map of Meaning is based on over 20 years’ research into the insights and practice of ordinary people as they search for, lose and find meaning. Incorporating the ideas of philosophers, psychologists and sociologists, this book describes how human beings wrestle with, and answer, questions such as, ‘What gives my life and work meaning?‘, ‘How can I balance inspiration and reality and maintain positive momentum?‘ and ‘How do we integrate meaningfulness into our workplaces?‘.

These questions are important for leaders as well as the teams and staff they employ, to navigate the organisational changes needed to keep pace and not lose the essence of what makes the care sector an incredibly fulfilling place to work


‘An oasis in management literature.’  D.Tim Hall, Professor of Organisational Behaviour, Boston University

‘When we are lost we become desperate for guidance.  Today we are all lost.  In this thoughtful volume, the authors give us a precious gift, a map to meaning  It is a gift to be cherished.’ Robert E. Quinn, Author of Building the Bridge as You Walk on it and Deep Change, Professor of Positive Psychology, Michigan University

The Map of Meaningful Work

Innate human knowledge is captured in a practical model that makes understanding and working with issues of meaning clear and accessible to everyone. At an individual level this book helps people to define and stay in contact with what is most important to them as they grapple with the real problems of daily life. It shows how they can stay in charge of keeping the human search for meaning alive, especially in the face of the challenges that exist in organizational life. Because the dimensions of meaning are shared, the second half of the book focuses on how we can bring an awareness of what creates meaningful work into our thinking about the practice and design of organisations. The authors recognize that in the current economic context a simple, yet profound guide for humanity is essential, precisely because organizational life has become so intensely directed towards a singular economic goal. They argue that it is vital that people have an easy, powerful way to reclaim the significance of meaning in their working lives both individually and at a whole of organization level.

Updated with new chapter material and case studies, this second edition offers profound insights for anyone who is interested in creating more meaning and purpose in work and organizations – from a CEO to a blue-collar worker or consultant. It is for those searching for ways to re-energize their roles or change their careers. It is for anyone who firmly believes that it must be possible to align our deeper life purposes with our daily actions in the workplace. It is for anyone who is committed to creating workplaces that support and enable the experience of work that feels worth doing.

About the Authors

Marjolein Lips-Wiersma (

Marjolein is Professor of Ethics and Sustainability at the Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand. She has spent the last fifteen years understanding the theme of meaningful work in practical and empirical ways. She has been a board director and chair of the Management, Spirituality and Religion group of the Academy of Management and regularly works with individuals, groups and organisations to diagnose and action how to create more meaningful work and work practices.

Lani Morris (

Lani has over thirty years’ experience as an independent organisational behaviour practitioner in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom, and as a contract lecturer at universities and tertiary institutions. She has studied the human search for meaning all her life, through philosophy and comparative religion in her undergraduate degree and through independent study. The key focus of her work is to help people take responsibility for and reclaim power over themselves, their lives and their work.  Lani’s holds a BA, MBA, MSc in Responsibility and Business Practice.

More Book Reviews

‘…Lips-Wiersma and Morris bring the meaning we make of life to a whole new level of understanding in their book, The Map of Meaningful Work. They offer their model as an analytical and practical tool for engaging different pathways of meaning making in our work and in our lives more generally. The book is overflowing with useful advice and examples of how to engage the model as a means for fostering individual and collective growth, learning and re-becoming whole.’ Jane E. Dutton, Robert L. Kahn University Professor of Business Administration and Psychology, University of Michigan

‘By providing a well tested, comprehensive framework and language, this book helps managers to engage in a genuine dialogue on how daily tasks can be a natural expression of what truly matters, beyond profits and growth. Grounded and deep, the authors show us how to integrate inspiration and purpose into the reality of business.’ Leanne Schuijt, leadership trainer and author of several books on management and inspiration

‘I know from my experience of working with the Map of Meaning, that of all the tools, interventions and frameworks I’ve used, this is one that consistently adds value to whatever I’m doing.  It always works.  It always has an impact and engages everybody.  It has rigour, there is a strength to the framework, and sufficient space within that for people to construct their own meaning.’ Stephen Tarpey, Human Dimensions, UK.

‘Written for anyone who is interested in creating more meaning and purpose in work and organisations, it is for those searching for ways to revitalise their work, and workplaces or change their careers, or their organisations. It is for anyone who firmly believes that it must be possible to align our deeper life purposes with our daily actions in the workplace..’ Highly recommended.’  Yochanan Altman, Senior Professor, Bordeaux School of Management; Research Professor, London Metropolitan University; Visiting Professor, Sorbonne Universities (Pantheon-Assas); Founding Editor, Journal of Management, Spirituality & Religion; European Editor, People & Strategy

‘…In my MBA class on Organizational Behaviour I use the model and describe it to the students as a sort of ‘personal balanced scorecard.’ The students immediately see its relevance to integrating their personal and professional lives.  I am delighted to have this beautifully written book available, and if you are interested in your own growth as a whole person and/or if you assist others in that quest, you need to use this book. It is extremely provocative and practical – as well as poetic.’ Douglas T. (Tim) Hall, Morton H. and Charlotte Friedman Professor in Management and MBA Faculty Director. Boston University School of Management.



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