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4th International Symposium on Meaningful Work: Meaningful Work and Sustainable Careers

Bush House, Strand Campus, London

30 Jun man-wearing-brown-suit-jacket-3184339 Part of King's Business School: Meaning and Purpose Network

We are delighted to announce that the fourth biannual International Symposium on Meaningful Work will be hosted on 30 June 2021 by King’s College London, following previous events held in Oxford, Auckland and Amsterdam. We hope to be able to run a face-to-face event but in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we are also planning for a virtual symposium. The symposium aims to bring together scholars from any discipline with an interest in meaningful work, and this year’s one-day event has a particular focus on career sustainability. Some of the questions we will be addressing include:

  • How can meaningful work be sustained through the course of a career?
  • How can individuals develop a meaningful career trajectory in the current climate of precarity?
  • As retirement ages increase, how does meaningfulness change over the life course?

The conference will feature keynote addresses from Professor Marjo Lips-Wiersma of Auckland University of Technology and Professor Christopher Michaelson of the University of St Thomas.

Keynote Speakers

Professor Marjo Lips-Wiersma, Auckland University of Technology

Professor Marjo Lips-Wiersma: "Too much meaning?"

Professor Marjo Lips-Wiersma has done research into meaningful work since the early 1990s. Over the past 15 years, Marjo’s work has jumped off the page and is used in community, corporate and not-for-profit organisations.

She set up the Map of Meaning International. This charity organisation has certified practitioners around the world which help people to stand strong in their own meaning and transform society. At present her research focuses on the intersection of meaning, hope and sustainability.

Professor Christopher Michaelson, University of St. Thomas

Professor Christopher Michaelson: "A Modern Moral Agenda for Meaningful Work Research"

Professor Christopher Michaelson is a professor in the department of Ethics and Business Law at the University of St. Thomas and is also affiliated with the Center for Bioethics at the University of Minnesota and the Business and Society program at New York University.

For much of his academic career, he has kept a foot in practice, helping to launch a business ethics advisory practice with a Big Four firm and serving as its Strategy Officer to the World Economic Forum.

Call for Papers

We welcome empirical and theoretical submissions that address the core themes of the symposium and the wider topic of meaningful work. This event will also include a dedicated workshop for doctoral students.

Extended abstracts of 1,000 words should be submitted to by Friday 26 March 2021. The abstract should state whether the paper is intended for the main symposium or the doctoral workshop.



Conference registration fee: £100

Doctoral student conference registration fee: £75

The symposium will be preceded by a separate one-day conference on 29 June 2021 aimed at a practitioner audience. We are delighted to announce that Professor Marjo Lips-Wiersma and Professor Christopher Michaelson will present at the practitioner event, along with Jonny Gifford of the CIPD.  

This event is part of the King’s College Meaning and Purpose Network (MaPNet) series. Further information about the practitioner event and registration is available here.

Steering Committee

Katie Bailey, King’s College London

Marjo Lips-Wiersma, Auckland University of Technology

Evgenia Lysova, VU University Amsterdam

Adrian Madden, University of Greenwich

Christopher Michaelson, University of St Thomas

Ruth Yeoman, University of Oxford and King’s College London

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