Academic journal article Business Renaissance Quarterly

Management through the Process of Healing

Academic journal article Business Renaissance Quarterly

Management through the Process of Healing

Article excerpt


Workplace spirituality has been hailed as a new paradigm but evidence in the literature suggests that it has not been widely adopted within organizational management. The first part of this conceptual paper explores possible reasons by examining workplace spirituality as one of three streams in management discourse, along with values-based management, and corporate social responsibility, focusing on the role of values in organizations. The second part of the paper posits a post-transformational management model building on the process of healing and repairing the world. By emphasizing healing, workplace spirituality may lead to an authentic transformation in how management is understood and practiced. The paper concludes with propositions derived from the post-transformational model. Despite possible limitations, the model potentially generates a research agenda and offers an approach to organizational transformation through the process of healing.


Heralded as a possible new paradigm for the study of business and organizations and the practice of management (Dehler & Welsh, 1994; Neal, BergmannLichtenstein & Banner, 1999), workplace spirituality has yet to be broadly adopted as a basis for organizational management. Despite the predominance of traditional organizational management models, references to a new workplace spirituality paradigm in the literature would suggest that this new paradigm has already emerged in organizational development practice (Karakas, 2009), and in the exercise of leadership (Fry & Cohen, 2009) among other spheres of management activity. Calls for a wider integration of the paradigm in management education have also appeared (Muscat 6t Whitty, 2009). Although there is admittedly a growing bank of organizations adopting practices consistent with workplace spirituality principles, evidence of these principles is trumped by the dominant traditional economic model that permeates management practice (Meehan, Meehan St Richards, 2006). This conceptual paper contends that in order for a workplace spirituality paradigm to supplant the traditional economic model, the impact of spirituality on the management process must be more thoroughly probed. Spirituality in the workplace is concerned with the influence of spiritual values on the organization, thus sharing a focus on values along with values based management (VBM) and corporate social responsibility (CSR). To date, the literatures of these streams appear to have evolved largely in parallel. The three discourses may acknowledge each other from time to time; for example, the link between spirituality and values-based management has been previously considered (Kriger & Hanson, 1999). This paper explores an integrated perspective of these management themes, placing spiritual values at the core of the organization, as the source of organizational values that influence and inspire activities and practices previously associated with VBM and CSR.

This paper begins with a brief review VBM, CSR, extending related dynamics to workplace spirituality as an explanation of possible obstacles preventing the emergence of a broadly adopted spiritual paradigm in management. The paper then considers organizational transformation based on integrating healing and repair of the world in the management process as a possible new management paradigm expressing workplace spirituality. The paper concludes with the formulation of propositions and discusses the research agenda that follows.

Values: A Common Thread

Spirituality in management, VBM and CSR all share a common theme that centers on the impact of values on the organization. Defined as goals toward which people strive across a range of situations and circumstances, values act as guiding principles to influence behavior including behavior in the workplace (Abbott, White 6t Charles, 2005). Leaders typically exert a strong influence on the values of their organization (Grojean, Resick, Dickson & Smith, 2004), and, in turn, leader behaviors model those values, which are central to the organization, allowing these values to be clearly visible to stakeholders. …

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