Sandra Robinson

Professor

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Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - May 2019)
The impact of work orientation on career, compassion, and creativity (2016)

Employees can espouse one of three work orientations: They may see their work as a job, as a necessity to support meaningful life experiences, as a career, a channel for advancement, or as a calling, a fulfilling vocation that provides personal, moral, and social significance. To date, little research has systematically compared behaviors associated with the three work orientations or sought to explain their underlying mechanisms. In this three-paper dissertation, I consider the impact of one or more work orientation on three types of employee behaviors. Study 1 is a qualitative study of 50 employees with a calling orientation that outlines how these individuals negotiate the challenges of their work. In study 2, a two-period survey of 182 social-service employees, I provide evidence that only the calling orientation is associated with greater compassionate action (kindness, help) towards coworkers because such employees operate at a higher cognitive construal level. Finally, the results of study 3, a cross-sectional survey of 283 employees across nine organizations, indicate a significant relationship between the job and career orientation and the two regulatory foci (promotion- and prevention focus), but do not support the baseline hypothesis that such regulatory foci would impact subsequent creative behavior. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

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