Purdue University Graduate School
Work Orientation and Performance of Leaders 10.pdf (1.78 MB)

Work Orientation and its Relationship to the Performance of Leaders

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posted on 2020-05-04, 17:26 authored by Cristina Voigt CoutinhoCristina Voigt Coutinho

The purpose of this research was to investigate how work orientation (job, career, and calling) affects the professional life of leaders; and how leaders perceive their work regarding these three dimensions. In addition, this study aimed to relate work orientation to performance. Also, phenomenology approach allowed a deep investigation of the experience of leaders with regard to their work.

For this purpose, two surveys were used; one was on work orientation and the other on performance. After completion of the surveys, six participants were invited to participate in an in-depth interview. The participants were aligned with the calling orientation and had a high performance at work. They described their work as integrated into their lives, involving their families in decisions, helping people, and desiring to make a difference in this world. Also, the findings showed that people who live a calling feel that work and life have intertwined meanings. The motivation, well-being, connection with an organization, engagement with work, and having a purpose were factors that had significance for those who perceive work as a calling. The main results were that the participants faced new challenges, built new meanings and understandings about work during their careers. Each experience helped them to improve the next, while also improving their performance. The relationship between these factors revealed a cycle of meanings. The cycle represents the evolution of the creation of new meanings which defines how people perceive their work and how that influences performance. Furthermore, this study showed that it is possible to change the perception of work through goals, achievement, working context, the adversities faced, stages of life, and the work environment. All of these lead to new meanings and becoming aligned to different dimensions of work orientation.


Degree Type

  • Master of Science


  • Technology Leadership and Innovation

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Dr. James L. Mohler

Additional Committee Member 2

Dr. Patrick Connolly

Additional Committee Member 3

Dr. Kathryne Newton