Enquiry into meanings of work and leisure: The case of professional and amateur football players and gardener
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Leisure research and theory lack cohesion because: (i) current definitions identify leisure as either a period of time, an activity, or an experience; and (ii) leisure tends to be conceptualized as the "ideal" antithesis of alienated work. The present research is designed to investigate meanings of work and leisure and it is based on the premise that it is the situation within which an activity is carried out, and not the activity itself, that is defined as work or leisure. Analysis includes subjects who defined football or gardening situations as work, and others who defined them as leisure. To account for meanings of work and leisure the concept "personal expectations" is introduced. This involves: positive expectations, or elements which are sought in a situation; negative expectations, or elements the individual would prefer to avoid; and neutral expectations, or elements toward which the individual is impartial. It is suggested that at a general level people have an imago of work and leisure which is based on at least one of six considerations: remuneration, time, pressures, the nature of the task, notions of freedom, and to a lesser extent, personal aptitudes or inclinations. The notion of work involves negative expectations, while the notion of leisure involves positive expectations with respect to at least one of these considerations. At a personal level, people attach meanings to specific situations defined as work or leisure. These involve attitudes toward the self/others determination of action, the self/others determination of a situation's environment, and the strength of social relationships within a situation. Attitudes toward these dimensions form the basis of the individual's general orientation toward, and definition of, a situation. The turee attitude and the general orientation dimensions are presented as continua between complying with negative expectations and realizing positive ones. Although both positive and negative expectations can be experienced in any situation, situations defined as work are typically those wherein the individual is oriented toward complying with negative expectations, while situations defined as leisure are typically those wherein the individual is oriented toward realizing positive expectations. The Personal Expectations Theory may be useful for predicting how a situation will be defined, for integrating and enriching existing propositions in the study of work and leisure, and for future research.