Just (not) doing my job: The moral imperativeness and aspiration of task execution

2019-08-15T14:33:16Z (GMT) by Vincent L Ng

Drawing from literature on job performance, moral intensity (Jones, 1991), and job characteristics theory (Grant, Fried, & Juillerat, 2011; Hackman & Oldham, 1976; Oldham & Fried, 2016), I propose a core feature of work that is not currently recognized or studied in extant work design research: the degree of moral imperativeness and aspiration. That is, jobs differ in how much their performance (i.e., task execution) is a moral imperative or aspiration. I first distinguish the moral imperativeness and aspiration of task execution (MITE and MATE) from related concepts such as task significance (Hackman & Oldham, 1975), prosocial characteristics of work (Grant, 2007, 2008a), and moral intensity of a task (Opoku-Dakwa, 2017, 2018). I then develop and validate a scale. In Study 1, I used job incumbents to provide empirical support that moral imperativeness and aspiration of task execution is distinguishable from related constructs, converge with theoretically-relevant constructs, and predict work criteria as experienced by job incumbents. In Study 2, I used naïve raters to judge the moral imperativeness and aspiration of work tasks at the task level to provide further evidence that they tap objective aspects of occupations.