The (In)authentic Self at Work and Donation Behavior

Hean Tat Keh, Monash University
Nu Ree Ha, Concordia University

Award Amount: $1,500


Being one’s authentic self plays a key role in an individual’s existence and well-being. Previous research shows that accessibility to the true self is positively related to an individual’s physical and mental health. However, at work, where most people spend a significant amount of time, many individuals often do not experience their authentic self. This project aims to investigate how experiencing the inauthentic self at work influences charitable behaviors. We predict that the inauthentic self at work decreases a sense of meaning in life, which leads to engaging in purposeful and worthwhile activities. We seek to examine the prosocial behavior context, namely money and time donation. Building on the psychology and consumer behavior literature, we propose that the inauthentic self at work leads consumers to donate time as it would bring greater meaning in life compared to donating money. We expect that such an effect does not occur for individuals who experience the true self at work. This project will contribute to enhancing individual welfare by understanding the impact of the inauthentic self at work and explaining the role of charitable giving in enhancing meaning in life.

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