The Question of Meaningful Work in a Digital Nomadic Life: A Conceptual Framework of Digital Nomads’ Process of Creating Meaningful Work

Isabelle Axelsen & Mie Degnegaard Høiby

Student thesis: Master thesis


Meaningful work is something everyone strives for. Research has in fact showed that some people, for instance workers in the creative workforce, desire the experience of meaningful work more than health or happiness. In this context, digital nomads are workers within the creative workforce who have attracted more attention in recent years due to their adventurous lifestyle that combines work and leisure travel. However, there are still many unanswered questions regarding the nomadic life-style. This study aims to obtain an in-dept understanding of how digital nomads experience meaning in their work and therefore asks: How do digital nomads create meaningful work?
Based on a phenomenological approach, 13 qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted with individuals who identified themselves as digital nomads. To answer the research question, a conceptual framework was developed which visualises how digital nomads create meaningful work. The framework shows that digital nomads’ creation of meaningful work takes place in a process as they carry out five different actions, namely increase autonomy, decrease work alienation, actualize oneself, increase greater good and challenge the conventional. Furthermore, the results indicate that the process of creating meaning can predominantly involve the individual digital nomad or predominantly involve others. The findings contribute with a new understanding of meaningful work and in particular how digital nomads create meaning in their work. As the current world situation with a global health crisis is forcing more people to work remotely, the findings seem more relevant than ever. Future research is therefore needed to investigate whether the findings can be applied to other types of workers for instance remote workers or crowd workers.

EducationsMSocSc in Service Management, (Graduate Programme) Final ThesisMSc in Business Administration and E-business, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages101
SupervisorsMari-Klara Stein & Tina Blegind Jensen