Academic journal article Indian Journal of Industrial Relations

Correlates of Spiritual Orientation & Managerial Effectiveness

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Industrial Relations

Correlates of Spiritual Orientation & Managerial Effectiveness

Article excerpt


Today's managers' are required to be super achievers with quick decision making skills and ability to face fierce competition in a highly fluid environment. This necessitates that the individuals spend increasingly additional time at the workplace, be "fully functioning" and be able to meaningfully relate themselves to their workplace. As a result many individuals are seeking to discover the answers to the meaning and the purpose of their lives in the context of the workplace itself. This often requires an in-depth understanding about who they are and what they stand for or in other words to know about their sense of self. Sense of self, can be interpreted as a construct with strongly spiritual dimensions (Nosek & Hughes 2001). The

Spiritual dimension denotes value clarification, commitment, study and meditation (English 2005). As opposed to the popular belief, spirituality for many is not necessarily confined to religious framework. According to Mitroff and Denton (1999), "People are hungry for models of practicing spirituality in the workplace ... they are searching for nonreligious, non-denominational ways of fostering spirituality". The present study was designed to explore the concept of spiritual self of managers in the Indian context.

Understanding Self

"The concept of self is discussed extensively in the most ancient and essential philosophy of India, Vedanta. It holds that there is an unmanifest universal force called, Brahman. Catholics refer to this same force as the Holy Spirit; Quakers call it the light. When this force becomes manifest in living being, vedantist call it the atman or self. Once embodied, however, ego develops and awareness becomes entangled in the web of Maya, the illusions of worldly existence, the play of forces on the conscious plane. At this stage it becomes unaware of the light within. According to the vedantic scriptures (the Vedas, Upanishads, and the Bhagavad Gita) the goal of living is to become aware of the self, the light within, and become one with it" (Nosek & Hughes 2001).

Developing a sense of self therefore can be seen as essentially as spiritual in nature. In the Bhagavad-Gita, Lord Sri Krishna, talks of three kinds of gunas and their behavioral manifestation in an individual. These gunas in turn determine the ease with which an individual realizes his sense of self. He enunciates how the development of various gunas in the individual is influenced by the food habits that are adopted. Thus food habits play an important role in a man's life. Even Jews and Muslims give importance to the type of food they consume.

Definition of Spirituality

"Spirituality encompasses a search for meaning, unity, for connectedness, for transcendence, for the highest of human potential" (Pargament 1992). Martin and Carlson (1998:59) define spirituality as "a process by which individuals recognize the importance of orienting their lives to something nonmaterial that is beyond or larger than themselves ... so that there is an acknowledgement of and at least some dependence upon a higher power, or spirit". Martin and Denton define spirituality as "the basic feeling of being connected with one's complete self, others and entire universe" (1999:83). Thus, the term spirituality as it is currently used denotes some higher all encompassing feeling of relationship with the cosmos, a sense of having a purpose in life and having a sense of satisfaction in being able to fulfill this purpose without having to compromise ones values.

Construal of Spiritual Self

The spiritual self includes a complex web of physical and psychological genetic predisposition, personality types, ego characteristics, personal histories, interpersonal relationships, societal and cultural expectations along with a search for self understanding and search for meaning (Nosek & Hughes 2001). Thus the spiritual self is meaningful to the manager only when he experiences self-realization and holism as a part of personal and embodied experiences in his every day life. …

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