Workplace Spirituality

Workplace Spirituality

“Spirituality in the Workplace is movement that began in the early 1990s. It emerged as a grassroots movement with individuals seeking to live their faith and/or spiritual values in the workplace. One of the first publications to mention spirituality in the workplace was Business Week, June 5, 2005.

The cover article was titled “Companies hit the road less traveled: Can spirituality enlighten the bottom line?” However, prior to that, William Miller wrote an article titled “How Do We Put Our Spiritual Values to Work,” published in “New Traditions in Business: Spirit and Leadership in the 21st Century” edited by John Renesch, 1992, San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.

Gilbert Fairholm wrote “Capturing the Heart of Leadership: Spiritual Community in the New American Workplace” in 1997 and Jay Conger wrote “Spirit at Work: Discovering the Spirituality in Leadership” in 1994, both considered germinal works in the field. Spiritual or spirit-centered leadership is a topic of inquiry frequently associated with the workplace spirituality movement (Benefiel, 2005; Biberman, 2000; Fry, 2005; Giacalone & Jurkiewicz, 2003; June, 2006).

The movement began primarily as U.S. centric but has become much more international in recent years. Key factors that have led to this trend include:

  • Mergers and acquisitions destroyed the psychological contract that workers had a job for life. This led some people to search for more of a sense of inner security rather than looking for external security from a corporation.
  • Baby Boomers hitting middle age resulting in a large demographic part of the population asking meaningful questions about life and purpose.
  • The millennium created an opportunity for people all over the world to reflect on where the human race has come from, where it is headed in the future, and what role business plays in the future of the human race.

In the late 1990s, the Academy of Management formed a special interest group called the Management, Spirituality and Religion Interest Group. This is a professional association of management professors from all over the world who are teaching and doing research on spirituality and religion in the workplace. This action by the Academy of Management was a significant step in legitimizing workplace spirituality and spirituality in the workplace as a new field of study.”