What Is Task Significance?
Task significance relates to the degree to which the job contributes to the overall efforts of the organization or to the world at large.
As such, Task significance reflects the extent to which a worker feels his or her job has a substantial impact on the lives of others. The impact may be local (i.e., meaningful to people inside the organization such as co-workers) or worldwide (i.e., meaningful to people outside the organization such as customers).
Many employees relish the feeling that they have accomplished something significant in life. At Apple Computer, for example, many employees speak with pride of their pioneering work in introducing the first personal computer, realizing that they had an important part in making history and changing the world.
Likewise, a teacher who sees the effect of his or her efforts in a well-educated and well-adjusted student enjoys high task significance compared with a dishwasher who monotonously washes dishes as they come to the kitchen.
Where task significance is high, the work probably will be perceived as more meaningful. For example, civil engineers who design an entire highway system will likely find their jobs to be more meaningful than assembly-line workers who are responsible for producing a component that goes into other products.
This is particularly true when the employees don’t know what the end product is, what it does, or who uses it.