Ana Vieira de Noronha Neves Cabrita Joaquim Pires Valentim Teresa Forte

Work representations and meaning: A study with education professionals in Mozambique

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Work has been widely addressed regarding its changing nature in adaptation to socio economic and cultural shifts. The present research addresses this topic by drawing innovatively on Social Representations of Work (SRW) and the Meaning of Work (MOW) while exploring the role that social justice and human values may have on the latter. Two studies were conducted with 194 education professionals in Mozambique, including teachers, superior technicians, and other technical and operational assistants. In the first study, a free association task and a professions classification task were employed to explore the SRW according to different socio-demographic profiles. In the second study, the influence of social justice and values on MOW dimensions was accessed through multiple regression analyses. The main findings suggest that conscientiousness and remuneration-related aspects are central to the SRW; that intellectual activities are perceived as more representative of work than manual ones by participants, and that MOW is positively associated with self-transcendence values and perception of procedural justice, but not with the perception of distributive justice. These findings provide valuable insight for this stream of organizational research and work management and policies benchmarking


  • education professionals
  • human values
  • the meaning of work
  • social justice
  • social representations of work


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