Adam Grant: Task Significance

Mike interviews Adam Grant about a series of field experiments he performed on task significance” the sense that one’s job has a positive impact on the wellbeing of other people. Adam found that increasing task significance dramatically improved employee job performance.

Adam Grant

Adam Grant ( ) is an Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior/Strategy in the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He earned his PhD in organizational psychology from the University of Michigan and his BA in psychology from Harvard. His research focuses on job design, work motivation, helping and giving behaviors, initiative and proactivity, and employee satisfaction and well-being” with an emphasis on when and how “making a difference makes a difference.”

Recommended further readings:

  • Bornstein, D. 2004. How to change the world: Social entrepreneurs and the power of new ideas. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Grant, A. M. 2008. The significance of task significance: Job performance effects, relational mechanisms, and boundary conditions. Journal of Applied Psychology, 93: 108-124.
  • Grant, A. M., Christianson, M. K., & Price, R. H. 2007. Happiness, health, or relationships? Managerial practices and employee well-being tradeoffs. Academy of Management Perspectives, 21: 51-63.
  • Hackman, J.R. 2002. Leading teams: Setting the stage for great performances. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
  • Weick, K. E., & Sutcliffe, K. M. 2001. Managing the unexpected: Assuring high performance in an age of complexity. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson is an Assistant Professor in Department of Management and Organization at the University of Washington. He can be reached via