Meaning of working (MOW) or the understanding of the purpose of working is a cornerstone in organizational behavior. This study answers the call to explain the MOW in Eastern contexts characterized by interdependent identities. We collect our data from hospitality workers in Taiwan, where Chinese Confucian and Taoist cultural precepts are strong. Our findings reveal that our informants use 25 typical vocabularies of motive in establishing and maintaining five salient identities that gain significance through two Chinese work meanings (i.e., good-minded undertakings and effortless assignments). These meanings demonstrate the theoretical contributions of our findings to the MOW literature. We also explore the interplay between our emic findings (grounded in Taoism and Confucianism Chinese cultures) with etic motivation theory to advance understanding of prevention and promotion foci.
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