Changing meanings of work in Germany, Korea, and the United States in historical perspectives

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The problem and the solution. The article uses three broad historical eras, preindustrial, industrial, and postindustrial, to investigate similarities and differences in the meaning of working in three countries: Germany, South Korea, and the United States of America. Based on the proposition of meaning as created in an interplay between the individual and the social environment, attention is paid to work as a social institution, and the characteristics of work processes, technologies, and organizations are described. The conclusion identifies common and divergent themes and argues for the importance of historical perspectives for the education and training of human resource development practitioners and the utility of a historical and comparative approach to understanding the meaning of working. Directions for further research are offered at the conclusion of the article.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)168-188
Number of pages21
JournalAdvances in Developing Human Resources
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2009


  • Germany
  • Historical analysis
  • Korea
  • Meaning of working
  • United States of America

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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