Purdue University Graduate School
Ng PhD 2019_Final.pdf (462.32 kB)

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

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posted on 2019-08-15, 14:33 authored by Vincent L NgVincent 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.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Psychological Sciences

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Dr. Louis Tay

Additional Committee Member 2

Dr. Sang Eun Woo

Additional Committee Member 3

Dr. Deborah Rupp

Additional Committee Member 4

Dr. Greg Oldham

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