Academic journal article Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies

An Examination of Proxy Measures of Workplace Spirituality: A Profile Model of Multidimensional Constructs

Academic journal article Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies

An Examination of Proxy Measures of Workplace Spirituality: A Profile Model of Multidimensional Constructs

Article excerpt

The purpose of this paper is to suggest a theoretical foundation to operationalize the constructs of spirituality from existing established measures. Several constructs from existing literature--perceived organizational support, affective organizational commitment, and intrinsic job satisfaction are used to measure aspects of workplace spirituality. As a result, a profile model of multidimensional constructs is used to explain the conceptual relationships.

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Spirituality in the workplace is purported to benefit organizations at three levels, the societal level, organizational level, and the individual or employee level. The main function that workplace spirituality serves at the societal level is that "it increases our confidence and competence in the power of goodness" (Miller, 2001, p. 3). One example of this confidence and competence can be seen in greater levels of social responsibility by a growing number of organizations.

Lloyd (1990) found that organizations with greater workplace spirituality outperformed organizations with little or no workplace spirituality by 86 percent. Also, organizations that embraced workplace spirituality grew faster, increased efficiencies, and had higher rates of return, as compared with organizations that do not (Jurkiewicz and Giacalone, 2004). Konz and Ryan (1999) assert that top management spirituality is "enunciated" within the firm culture. This culture also affects human resources. Thus, Marques (2005) discusses the role of human resources in establishing spirituality. In addition, if spirituality can be linked to financial ramifications, such as turnover, productivity, and growth, it can only help its prevalence in today's business world. Hence, any relationship between spirituality and some aspect of business that affects the bottom line is a worthwhile endeavor.

Some individual level benefits of workplace spirituality include "increased physical and mental health of employees, advanced personal growth, and enhanced sense of self worth" (Krahnke, Giacalone, and Jurkiewicz, 2003, p. 397). Mohamed, Wisnieski, Askar, & Syed (2004: 104) propose, "the stronger the spiritual factor of personality the more tolerant the person is of work failure and less susceptible to stress. Mitroff and Denton (1999: 86), assert that workplace spirituality benefits individuals by allowing them to realize their full potentials and "develop their complete self at work. Therefore, workplace spirituality is a pervasive force that affects individuals and organizations at multiple levels.

Three Dimensions of Spirituality

Overview

McCormick (1994) defines spirituality as an inner experience an individual has that can be evidenced by his or her behavior. Neck and Milliman (1994: 9) define spirituality as "expressing our desires to find meaning and purpose in our lives and is a process of living out one's set of deeply held personal values. Dehler and Welsh (1994) discuss how spirituality is an individual's inner source of inspiration. "The basic feeling of being connected with one's complete self, others, and the entire universe, is how Mitroff and Denton (1999) define spirituality. Therefore, spirituality is generally viewed as some internal value, belief, attitude, or emotion. Nonetheless, individual spirituality is considered an internal substance that affects people's behavior. Consequently, the dimensions of spirituality can be measured by use of proxy measures that capture aspects of an individual's internal state.

Although there are different levels of spirituality, as discussed previously, each of the measures used in this research focus on the individual employee level. This is in part due to the nature of workplace spirituality. According to Konz and Ryan (1999), the organizational culture stems from the spiritual substance within the founders and leaders of an organization. This is communicated via the organization's mission, vision, policies, and procedures. …

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