The Evolving Meaning and Nature of Work
A look at how the meaning of work has changed over the ages, and where it is going in the future.
This essay discusses the evolving meaning and nature of work over the ages, with an emphasis on current and future trends in this regard. It does this by first demonstrating how the meaning and nature that work played in ancient human societies changed over time. It then looks at some of the current trends in this regard. In doing this, it includes issues related to the global economy and e-commerce.
“Like most other complex constructs found in psychology, there is no one, all-encompassing definition of work. Drummond and Ryan (1995) claim that, historically, work has had a variety of meanings to people of different times and places. For this reason no formal definition of work can be provided. Let it suffice to say that, when one thinks of work, it is important to realise that work can occur outside of jobs (ie: housewives work, as do volunteers of all kinds). In fact, Isaacson and Brown (1997) put it well when they say that “when thinking about work, it is not just the exertion of energy or effort, but it is the exertion aimed at the attainment of various objectives other than those pursued solely for pleasure or sport” (Isaacson & Brown, 1997, p6)”