• Martin Søvsø Larsen
4. term, Sociology, Master (Master Programme)
The purpose of this thesis: ”Giftedness at work – A qualitative case study in the creation of meaning among highly intellectually gifted people” is to generate knowledge about the phenomenon of sensemaking in gifted people.
Little is known about the phenomenon in the current sociological literature. The clear majority of research on the subject concerns young people and particularly students. The limited amount of research done, on gifted people, focus mainly on their achievements. We know, however, that gifted people give lower scores regarding meaningful work, compared to people who are high achievers and compared to a randomly selected control group. We also know, that there is a correlation between being gifted and achieving academic and work-related success. On the other hand, research finds a correlation between being critical and less likely to accept positive illusion, among the gifted. One of the biggest problems for gifted adults in a working environment is not being aware of their own giftedness. This causes confusion in the individual, leading to absence because of health issues or in some cases it leads to problems with cooperation in the context of work.
This thesis bases its methods for researching the problem on semi-structured interviews. Nine interviews were conducted on members of Mensa, the society for the gifted. The interviews were based on an interview guide focusing on the members experiences in their daily work and on the issue of being and becoming a member of Mensa. Symbolic interactionism lay as the methodologic foundation in the thesis, where the paradigm of sensemaking combined with the theory of stigma has been applied to help understand the phenomenon.
Through analysis of the empirical material, episodes of sensemaking were found. The episodes most commonly experienced were; when you become bored, when you like rationality more than relations, when other people undermine your autonomy, when you feel different, when you find out what is wrong with you, when you are confronted with your stigma.
The thesis concludes that meaning in work is created in iterative sensemaking processes. These processes evolve around two distinct areas, the first being strictly job content related issues, and the second being socially related issues at the workplace. Among the job content related issues are boredom, too much focus on rational solutions and lack of autonomy. The socially related issues relate to the stigma attached to the membership of Mensa, the society for the gifted.
Publication date2018
Number of pages107
ID: 274300962