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The Map of Meaning
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This book introduces a "Map of Meaning" called the Holistic Development Model, which provides a clear, simple and profound framework of the dimensions and process of living and working meaningfully.Like all reliable maps this one has been carefully tested. It is based on over 15 years' research into the insights and practice of ordinary people. Although the authors borrow from the work of philosophers, psychologists and sociologists to provide evidence and context for their ideas, the main contribution of this book is that it describes how ordinary human beings wrestle with, and give answers to, the questions of "What is meaningful work and a meaningful life?" This 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 and suggests 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. The authors recognize that in the current economic context a simple map of meaning 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 a simple and powerful way to reclaim the significance of meaning in their working lives.There are numerous studies that show conclusively that meaningful work, or its absence, influences some important outcomes in organizational life such as motivation, absenteeism, work behaviour, engagement, job satisfaction, empowerment, stress and performance. But people's humanity and search for meaning, so often compromised at work, is not something that can be mechanised by the latest self-help or managerial technique. It is not something that can be picked up and dropped as convenient. The authors argue that being human is not a fad. Being human is enduring and needs to be taken seriously. Creating meaningful work, therefore, leads to many desired organizational outcomes, but implementing it does require the courage to question some fundamental ways of thinking about business and the integrity to engage with the issues sincerely. At an organizational level this book offers many practical examples of how to build and maintain workplaces that are meaningful to people.The idea that there is a parallel between the meanings, decision-making dynamics and actions of individuals and organizations is central to the structure of this book. It therefore addresses meaning at both individual and organizational level and in the dynamic between them. This is neither a self-help book, nor an organizational systems book; its strength is that it draws together the aspirations of individuals with those of the organizations in which they work.At the same time, this is not a naive book. One of the strengths of the Holistic Development Model is that it takes tensions, paradoxes and imperfections as a given. They are part of being human and they are part of organizations. The book is not only about the importance of living meaningfully, it is about how to do it. The book is full of stories of people who have worked with the model. They demonstrate the versatility of the model and how it helps them to analyse, speak to, plan around and respond to an enormous variety of everyday issues and situations. It is this resourcefulness the authors would like readers to get from this book and have at their fingertips.This book is primarily written for anyone, from a CEO to a blue-collar worker or consultant, who is interested in creating more meaning and purpose in work and organizations, and who would like to better understand how to get others on board. 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.
Product Details

Table of Contents

1. Introduction, overview and welcome 2. Background and guide to the Map of Meaning Section 1: Taking personal responsibility for meaningful work 3. Finding the words to talk about what matters 4. Wholeness and integration5. Taking responsibility between inspiration and reality Section 2: where meaning meets organisation 6. Taking responsibility between inspiration and reality in contemporary organisations 7. Creating practices and systems that have integrity and respond to the whole human being 8. Speaking to meaning within organisational systems 9. Meaningful work at the foundation of the responsibility revolution Appendix 1: Joining us in creating more meaningful working lives Appendices 2 and 3: Versions of the Holistic Development Model Appendix 4: List of certified practitioners

Promotional Information

A clear, simple and profound framework of the dimensions and process of living and working meaningfully.

About the Author

MARJOLEIN LIPS-WIERSMA is Associate Professor of Management Studies at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. LANI MORRIS is an independent organizational behaviour practitioner who has worked with organizations in New Zealand, Australia and the UK.

Reviews

This book can make a major impact on the lives of many, wherever they work and whatever their faith. It provides a highly practical, easy-to-follow yet thorough treatment of what we mean by 'meaning' in our lives, and how we can increase that meaning. In a world where there is ever-growing stress and where the economic and social system based on individualism is being challenged, it is a very timely publication. The authors provide a great welcome balance of theory and practice: Marjolein is Associate Professor of Management Studies at the University of Canterbury NZ and Lani is an independent practitioner in organisational behaviour. The book, which is written with considerable humility, is the result of over 15 years of research and practice. Its premise is that we are more likely to find work and life meaningful if we have a practical way of engaging with these deeper questions of meaning... By asking people to describe the things that give meaning to their lives and work, Marjolein was able to draw up the Map, which can then be used by us all as we seek to increase the meaning and balance of our lives. The Map is not prescriptive, nor does it classify or judge. It helps the reader to access what we already know deep down to be important to our humanity. It helps us bring it to the surface, act upon it, and bring it to life. There are a few places that we can go for help with this struggle, and for me, the Map provides as good a way as any. The book is effectively a "how-to" manual. Examples show how the Map has been used by individuals and by groups, by people of many faiths and none, by people in paid employment and those whose work is simply the cares of life. There are three main elements to the Map: Four "pathways" to meaning: developing the inner self; expressing full potential; unity with others; service to others Two tensions between these pathways: the needs of the self and the needs of others; the need for reflection (being) and action (doing) - these need to be in balance if we are to retain our sanity! The overall context provided by, on the one hand, inspiration (for example one's faith) and on the other the reality of self (...human frailty) and circumstances (...the pressures of the world) The authors provide unpretentious exercises that bring these three elements to life, examples of how they have been used, and of the impact they have had on those involved. Though these exercises are simple, they are also profound; they draw you towards your inner self but allow you to be your own guide so that you are never out of your depth. The book is in two parts. The first deals with personal use of the Map, and this is where the power lies. I have been a leadership trainer and coach for many years, and have experienced many tools and therapies in the personal development arena. I have found that many of these have shortcomings and indeed dangers, primarily because they are rooted in an economic, rational and individualistic approach to life and are couched in specialist language. The Map's power comes from being more broadly based, expressed in everyday English. The second part of the book deals with organisations, and here too it has impact but does not (and indeed I think cannot) go far enough. The basis of this section is that organisations benefit from people who are able to nurture and energise themselves; that people (and society) benefit from organisations where work is a natural extension of our search for meaning; and, sadly, that many organisations actively damage the search for meaning. The rational, economic, process-based paradigm often fights against the need to have engaged and committed people. The authors address this by helping individuals be stronger about their own meaning, and by helping groups share a common search for meaning and use this to shape their goals. Examples show where this "multi-individual approach" has worked well. There is value in this for any organisation, but I think that there needs to be an additional and complementary organisation-wide approach if the full impact to be made in larger firms. I have been aware of the Map for several years, and have indeed flirted with its use, but it is only through reading this book that I have grasped its full significance and potential... most powerfully, because of its accessibility to all, it provides a highly constructive way of bringing the power of faith to those who have none. I recommend this book to you. -- John Kay, Director of Change Management in Transforming Business, University of Cambridge

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