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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