Quiet quitting - Grounded theory on the quiet quitting phenomenon in Finnish working life

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School of Business | Master's thesis
Degree programme
People Management and Organizational Development
In the post-pandemic working life, employees have started to re-evaluate their relationship with work, giving way to a new meaning of work in their lives. The perceived anomalies of modern working life have led many employees to decrease their work efforts which has resulted in the phenomenon of quiet quitting. This thesis sets out to examine quiet quitting in the context of Finnish working life. As quiet quitting is a novel phenomenon, a grounded theory methodology was utilised in the research process to enable theory-building on the empirical data. Secondary data was gathered both from employees’ and employers’ perspective to create an understanding of the perceptions, drivers and consequences of quiet quitting. The data analysis was conducted based on the theoretical framework on work meaningfulness, work engagement, and quiet quitting. The findings of the thesis suggest that quiet quitting is driven by a lack of work meaningfulness. Moreover, the phenomenon is driven by poor leadership, a lack of recognition, and well-being issues, which are amplified by major working life changes. On the other hand, quiet quitting was found to result in decreased work engagement and lowered performance. In addition, employees experience decreased sense of identification with their organisation, leading to decreased organisational commitment. However, at the same time, the phenomenon has positive implications for employee well-being and work-life balance. These findings support previous research on quiet quitting and its relationship with work meaningfulness and engagement. Furthermore, the findings suggest that the quiet quitting can be mitigated in Finnish working life by supporting employee well-being and investing in engaging employees through sustainable leadership practices.
Thesis advisor
Katila, Saija
quiet quitting, work meaningfulness, work engagement, Finnish working life
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