A TRIANGULATION OF JOB LOVE:  A MIXED METHODS STUDY OF THE MEANING AND OUTCOMES OF LOVE OF THE JOB 

Constance Bygrave, PhD

Fairleigh Dickinson University, USA

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Abstract

Love of the job (LOJ) may be common vernacular in some societies and in best-selling non-fiction books, but it is not widely acknowledged or researched by the academic community. The purpose of this mixed methods research was to provide construct validity for the emerging construct of LOJ and explicate its impact on individual and organizational outcomes. This mixed methods study entailed sequential qualitative analysis of documents, quantitative analyses of survey data, and qualitative analysis of open-ended survey transcripts. An initial document analysis of practitioner literature on the topic of LOJ provided underlying themes and a framework for a quantitative measure. Based on these themes, and with the guidance Sternberg’s interpersonal model of love, a quantitative measure of LOJ was validated with a sample of 310 professionals. Finally, data from fourteen qualitative surveys were analyzed to explain and elucidate the quantitative results. By corroborating multiple data sets, this research resulted in a deeper understanding of the construct of LOJ as a three-factor construct comprising passion for the work, meaningful workplace relationships, and commitment to purpose or the organization. 

Exploratory qualitative data provided impetus for a three-factor model of LOJ. A fifteen-item measure of LOJ was validated and determined to be discriminant from other measures such as job satisfaction and job engagement. Based on multiple-regression analyses, LOJ is correlated with well-being and lower turnover but not extrinsic measures of productivity. Explanatory qualitative data supported the quantitative results, clarified the commitment to purpose dimension and implied that self-determination theory may explain why LOJ does not necessarily lead to increased productivity. An increased understanding of love of the job provides benefits for individuals through increased well-being and benefits for organizations through decreased turnover and the indirect productivity effects of employee well-being. 

Key words: Love of the job; job engagement; job satisfaction; mixed methods; well-being

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