Academic journal article Business Renaissance Quarterly

Fundamentals of a Spiritual Workplace

Academic journal article Business Renaissance Quarterly

Fundamentals of a Spiritual Workplace

Article excerpt

The following is a chapter in Drs. Marques, Dhiman, and King's forthcoming book "Spirituality in the Workplace: What it Is; How it Works; Why it Matters," to be published later this year.

In this article we will review the factors that we consider necessary for a spiritual workplace, and those that should be absent. To provide a better overview of these factors, we will divide them into three subcategories. Since the findings were gleaned from studies performed during 2003, 2004, and 2005, the factors will be presented in tables, so that the reader can get a better idea about the focus points in these studies. The factors will then be briefly discussed, so that the reader can get an idea about how they may be interpreted.

What is Necessary for a Spiritual Workplace?

In order to obtain as detailed an answer as possible to this question, we conducted in-depth research among business executives at various levels in a multitude of workplaces in Los Angeles. The main requirement for our interviews was, that these individuals had to have done some deep thinking and reflection on spirituality in the workplace.

During analysis, we found that the entire list of words/phrases we gathered could be sub-categorized under three main groups:

1. Internal factors

2. Integrated factors

3. External factors

For a clear overview of all elements that were considered important in a spiritual workplace, we captured all factors in one table, dividing the factors across internal, integrated, and external spectrums. Guided by the fact that most of the people we interviewed clearly distinguished leadership responsibilities from actions performed by all workers who operate at a high level of spiritual awareness, we further divided the internal factors in two subcategories: "Leadership," and "All Workers" (see table 1 on next page).

In some more detail, here are the essentials for a spiritual workplace:

* Some of the external elements are: an appealing aesthetic atmosphere (plants, pleasant smell, books), order, and inspirational affirmations.

* Some of the integrated elements are: peace, comfort, a generally pleasant representation, accessibility of information, a certain level of casualness (lack of protocol), the existence of pleasant organizational subcultures, such as clubs and organizational functions, fair compensation and good reward mechanisms, and the organization's involvement in charity projects in the community.

* Some of the internal elements are:

1. Leadership Perspective: Top executives that are more sensitive, kinder, and aware of the humane factor, which will be reflected in their creation of a caring environment, and a high level of flexibility in accessing different levels of the organization.

2. All Workers' Perspective (leaders and employees): The reflection of the spirit of the leaders' spiritual intent in the workplace, the presence of kind people, high levels of interaction, team performance, involvement (meetings, encouraging mental contributions); conviviality among employees; the presence of an increased bonding among all workers through commonality in character traits, which manifests itself in high ethical and moral standards, as well as the presence of a "giver"-rather than a "taker"- culture; a tradition of helping one another ;an attitude of prioritizing collective over personal goals ; trust, respect, valuing differences ;a focus on solutions instead of problems; the availability of mentors ;and a sense of mission that goes beyond the bottom line.

What should be absent in a Spiritual Workplace?

Since the vital factors for a spiritual workplace become even clearer if we also emphasize those behaviors that should be absent in the spiritual workplace, we will now present our findings on what the people we interviewed during 2003 and 2005 thought on this issue.

In Table 2 the most frequently used words for what will be absent in a spiritually nurtured workplace are presented. …

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