Spirituality in the workplace. Exploration into the reasons behind the increased interest in Spirituality in the Workplace - Satiation of Maslow’s hierarchy of need. Shifting Maslowvian needs
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Shifting Maslowvian needs
Krishnakumar & Neck , Tischler , Brandt , Cacioppe [2000, Part 1]
The search for greater meaning and purpose
Cash 2000; Cacioppe 2000; King and Nicoll1999 and Cavanagh 1999 suggests that employees are looking for greater meaning and purpose in their lives [with some contending that this search has been underpinned by the advance of technology and the restructuring of organizations]
Cavanagh 1999; Bell 2001; Darwin 2002; make reference to one of the reasons for the rise in interest in SiW is that the changes to the global economy [and the consequent downsizing] have left workers demoralized, creating a sense of alienation and the inability to cope with the compartmentalizing nature of their work and non-work lives
Owners, managers and employees are having to change the way they think and work
Another answer to this question arguably could involve the benefits to an organization for encouraging spirituality in the workplace.
Krishnakumar & Neck 2002 suggest that there is some evidence linking workplace spirituality and
King and Nicol 1999 suggested that organizations who foster spiritual development will realize heightened individual and organizational performance
Exploration into the reasons behind the increased interest in Spirituality in the Workplace – Collapse of traditional community structures
Yet it may well be a deep sense of loss or absence of community (and an attempt to understand that loss) that has made Robert Putnam’s 1995 ‘Bowling alone’ the most cited article in recent history
Mitroff and Denton 1999; Bell 2001 suggest that traditional community structures that formerly provided employees with a source of meaning are seen by some as less relevant
Waddock 1999 suggests that despite the decline of formal associational activities people do find and build community in a variety of places – especially in modern society – through work organizations..
‘There is a great deal of confusion in our Western culture about spirituality. There are many defenses that arise when the topic of spirituality is introduced because most people think that the comments are religious’.(Akins E., 2000)
‘Part of the confusion arises out of how we distinguish the term ‘spirituality’ from ‘religion’ in our language. Spirit comes from the word ‘spiritus’ which means breath of life. Spirit is the unseen force that breathes life into us, enlivens us gives energy to us. Spirit helps to define the true, real unique self that is us and confirms our individuality
Moxley 2000 p. 23
…..Religion comes from the Latin ‘religio’ which has been translated as reliance or connection
Scott-Peck 1993 p. 233) in Howard (2002) p. 232
What then is spirituality? What goes on in church? New age religions? A set of impractical beliefs? A private experience with little value in working? A state of consciousness? Soul work? Contemplative practices like meditation or prayer? Time-honored principles or tools for living and working with more joy and success? A transpersonal state of human development (beyond individual, skin-encapsulated ego) with new values, priorities, and skills, which is also laying a foundation for a new bottom line?
Butts (1999 p. 328)
……‘ multiple perspectives and understandings of the topic can contribute greatly to its comprehension’.
Perhaps, the most useful part of what has been demonstrated here is that there is no ‘one answer’ to the question ‘What is spirituality in the workplace?’; but rather a framework is presented with opportunities for exploration and discovery.
Freshman (1999 p. 326)
The existentialist view – the search for meaning and purpose
Focussing on ‘the now’
Adopting a holistic view of the world
The existentialist view – the search for meaning and purpose
The search for meaning has been one of the most quoted phrases in examples of people who quit their jobs to lead more spiritually enriching life
Naylor et al., (1996, p. 56) cited in Krishnakumar and Neck, (2002 pp. 156)
This is not a new quest
… …‘The question, which in my fiftieth year had brought me to the notion of suicide, was the simplest of all question, lying in the soul of every man: ‘What will come from what I am doing now, and may do tomorrow? What will come from my whole life?’
Wilber (1995 p. 271) quotes Tolstoy
Being in the zone
Resonating with what you are doing
Focus of attention
Csikszentmihalyi (1990) describes the experience as a feeling of being in the flow. It is a sense of wholeness, an oneness with who we are and an awareness of how we fit with our external environment.
'The natural sciences support the third aspect of Spirituality, which is a holistic view of the world. Everything is connected to everything else. ‘Globally, recent insights from the natural sciences have shown the world to be an individual whole, a web of relationships in which any action has complex, non-linear and unpredictable effects. Accepting the veracity of this research requires a shift in how we perceive and experience our world.’
Gleick, J., (1987), ‘Chaos; Making a New Science’, Penguin, New York NY;Capra, F., (1996), ‘The Web of Life’, Anchor Book, New York, NY (cited in Neal (1999) Journal of Change Management, Vol. 12. No.3 p.176-7)
Indra, the king of the gods, has a wonderful net made entirely of strings of jewels. Imagine this net arrayed in space, extending in all directions. In every diamond you can see the reflection of the whole net – the entire net is contained and reflected by every jewel in it. Imagine you are one of the jewels, and every person in the world is also – each reflecting all the others.’
It may be time for us to begin to experience the inter-connectedness and inter-dependence of all things (both human and non-human) rather than leaving it to occasional intellectual understanding
Relationship with others – separation or intrinsic connection?
‘The relationship to the Thou is direct. No systems of ideas, no foreknowledge, and no fancy intervene between I and Thou. The memory itself is transformed, as it plunges out of its isolation into the unity of the whole. No aim, no lust, and no anticipation intervene between I and Thou. Desire itself is transformed as it plunges out of its dream into the appearance. Every means is an obstacle. Only when every means has collapsed does the meeting come about.’
Martin Buber, I and Thou, translated by Ronald Gregor Smith p. 26
And from that way of being, individually and collectively begin to create, relate and experience a richer, dynamic and more meaningful life – both professionally and personally
To believe in love in the face of hatred, life in the face of death, day in the dark of night, good in the face of evil – to some, all of these may seem to be hopelessly naïve, wishful thinking…….but, to Tillich, all of these are manifestations of enormous courage, the courage of confidence in more than the sovereignty of fact and appearance’ …… Paul Tillich, ‘The Courage to be’, p. xxiii
‘But everything great is just as difficult to realize as it is rare to find’ – reads the last sentence of the Ethics of Spinoza.
Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning p. 179
Some things to ponder?
What is your
spirituality in the
workplace & how can it
best be achieved?