This hermeneutic research study focuses on Intellectual Engagement in the Workplace. It is an unravelling of situated life stories of people in their “work” to provide intentionality. Four individuals from different careers were interviewed and the conversations taped and transcribed. Each participant was asked a set list of questions about engagement in their work. The key research question is “What did you do at work today?” A hermeneutic inquiry practice with emphasis on careful questioning, provides information on what allows individuals to be passionate and interested in their work.
Through these interviews and research of engagement in the workplace, four common principles emerge.
1) The first principle is employers and individuals are creators of “possibilities”. Individuals are responsible for their own learning. No one else can do it for them.
2) The second principle is purposeful work, which is meaningful, fulfilling and personal, is “engaging”. The work individuals engage in expands if it is meaningful and purposeful for them. The participants in the interviews are working “beyond” the task at hand.
3) The third principle is directive boundaries with feedback, support and experiences enhance learning. Goals, feedback and mentors build successes for individuals to want to continue to learn and discover. Successes build self-efficacy in individuals.
4) Lastly, the fourth principle is the workplace is a place of “connection”. The workplace can create community and social belonging for individuals. The workplace has tremendous implications for the future of our learners and society.