Spirituality in the Workplace
A SPIRITUAL CULTURE
There is a spiritual awakening in the American workplace. In the 1990s, more than 300 titles on workplace spirituality flooded the bookstores. Many corporations are encouraging the development of this new trend because they believe a humanistic work environment creates a win-win situation for both employees and the organization. If members of an organization are happy, they will be more productive, more creative, and more fulfilled. Personal fulfillment and high morale are closely linked to outstanding performance and, therefore, have a direct impact on an organization's financial success. But a dispirited workplace can manifest itself in low morale, high turnover, burnout, frequent stress-related illness, and rising absenteeism. The events of September 11, 2001, have further contributed to a reexamination of the nature and meaning of work by many Americans and to the emergence of both a more personal and widespread spirituality. Despite the definite link between spirituality, religion, and ethics, they are quite different. A clear definition of the boundaries of spirituality has been elusive. For this reason, public agencies have been reluctant to follow suit for fear of violating the principle of church-state separation.( Jean,Garcia 2003)
Individuals that are for workplace spirituality say it is not about organized religious, it’s not about God or theology. Workplace spirituality recognizes that people have an inner life that nourishes and is nourished by meaningful work that takes place in the context of the community through a strong sense of purpose, focus on individual development, trust and openness, employee empowerment, and toleration of employee expression. The criticisms of spirituality are; do organizations have the right to impose spirituality values on their employees? And are spirituality and profits compatible? One fear is that the workplace will become over spiritualized, and will take over or colonize the life world of the employee. In the name of increasing productivity, well-meaning managers may infringe on authentic spiritual practice and on the employees' souls. The leader will have to look closely at what he or she is doing to nurture soul or spirit. (English, L. 2002.)
The controversy starts with the definition of spirituality; Howard (2002) commonly believed that as human beings, we are made up of body, mind, emotions and spirit. Many would place all things that are non-rational, including the psychological world, into the spiritual category. The interplay between our spiritual yearnings, our emotions, psychological capacity and our capability to learn are all deeply interwoven. Man's inherent design or inner nature seems to be not only in his anatomy and physiology, but also his most basic need, yearnings and psychological capacity. This inner nature is usually not obvious and easily seen, but is rather hidden.
Howard (2002) Stated the simplest terms as the "hidden yearning" within us is an indicator of our spirituality. We each need to find meaning and purpose and develop our potential, to live an integrated, fulfilled life. Spirituality encompasses the way an individual lives out his or her sense of interconnectedness with the world through an ability to tap into deep resources. It encompasses such terms as truth, love, service, wisdom, joy, peace and wholeness. It is about self-awareness and about unity with others. It combines our basic philosophy towards life, our values, with our conduct and practice. Hence the difficulty with definition - spirituality is highly individual and intensely personal, as well as inclusive and universal.
What is spiritual leadership?
Wolf (2004) Recent unethical business practices of some corporations and the overall loss of confidence by the public in corporate leadership have given rise to a unique leadership model - one that focuses on...
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