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Spirituality in the Workplace Katy Atkinson, OWT OWT 208 2005 Week 14 Lecture Notes.

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Presentation on theme: "Spirituality in the Workplace Katy Atkinson, OWT OWT 208 2005 Week 14 Lecture Notes."— Presentation transcript:

1 Spirituality in the Workplace Katy Atkinson, OWT OWT Week 14 Lecture Notes

2 Lecture Aims What is meant by spirituality in the work place? What is meant by spirituality in the work place? Three levels of analysis: Three levels of analysis: –Mainstream management literature –Critique within management literature –Going further a field: Rose, Roberts and Heelas

3 What does spirituality in the workplace encompass? Self discovery, self development and self actualisation Self discovery, self development and self actualisation Spiritual Techniques Spiritual Techniques – e.g. corporate firewalking, meditation, yoga, outward bound activities, prayer groups, spiritual conferences, telekinesis, vision quests…etc

4 What does spirituality in the workplace encompass? Providing ultimate meaning and interconnectedness (Mitroff & Denton 1999) Providing ultimate meaning and interconnectedness (Mitroff & Denton 1999) Inner peace and calm, an ‘inexhaustible source of faith and power’, tolerant and open-minded Inner peace and calm, an ‘inexhaustible source of faith and power’, tolerant and open-minded Not to be confused with religion which is dogmatic, intolerant and divisive (Mitroff 2003) Not to be confused with religion which is dogmatic, intolerant and divisive (Mitroff 2003)

5 Mainstream management literature Spirituality as competitive advantage (Mitroff 2003 and many more) Spirituality as competitive advantage (Mitroff 2003 and many more) Spiritual = happy employee = more productive + lower labour turnover Spiritual = happy employee = more productive + lower labour turnover Links to organisational learning, HRD, leadership, empowerment, creativity Links to organisational learning, HRD, leadership, empowerment, creativity

6 Mainstream management literature Corporations becoming ‘lean and meaningful’ (HR Magazine, August 1998:46) – instead of simply ‘lean and mean’ Corporations becoming ‘lean and meaningful’ (HR Magazine, August 1998:46) – instead of simply ‘lean and mean’ Encouraging individuals to find meaning in work, cope with stress, encourage a democratic and community based organisation (Dehler and Welsh 1994, Biberman and Witty 1997) Encouraging individuals to find meaning in work, cope with stress, encourage a democratic and community based organisation (Dehler and Welsh 1994, Biberman and Witty 1997)

7 Mainstream management literature Management as (secular) religion; work as a ‘calling’ (Pattison 1997, Ackers and Preston 1997, Fox 1994). Management as (secular) religion; work as a ‘calling’ (Pattison 1997, Ackers and Preston 1997, Fox 1994). Management seen as appealing to ideals of faith, self-discovery and commitment through religious language and ‘prophet-like’ leaders. Management seen as appealing to ideals of faith, self-discovery and commitment through religious language and ‘prophet-like’ leaders.

8 Critique within management literature No widely accepted definition of spirituality in the workplace No widely accepted definition of spirituality in the workplace Is anything that is ‘fun’, ‘team building’ or ‘fulfilling’ to be classified as spiritual? (Benefiel 2003) Is anything that is ‘fun’, ‘team building’ or ‘fulfilling’ to be classified as spiritual? (Benefiel 2003) Conceptualisation through measurement? (Ashmos and Duchon 2000) Conceptualisation through measurement? (Ashmos and Duchon 2000)

9 Critique within management literature Paradox: work as mystified and its meaning elusive vs. managing and quantifying spirituality and the self. Paradox: work as mystified and its meaning elusive vs. managing and quantifying spirituality and the self. Route to self-discovery “tightly circumscribed”, organisation portrayed as depoliticised, individual has the burden of responsibility to ‘find herself' Route to self-discovery “tightly circumscribed”, organisation portrayed as depoliticised, individual has the burden of responsibility to ‘find herself' (Bell and Taylor 2003).

10 Critique within management literature Scepticism: Scepticism: – learning to sing the hymn, soon forgetting the words (Ackers and Preston 1997) –Moral implications – devotion to org. and material gains –If profits suffer will the spiritual path be abandoned?

11 Critique within management literature Bell and Taylor (2003) draw upon Foucault to criticise spirituality: Bell and Taylor (2003) draw upon Foucault to criticise spirituality: –Pastoral power masquerading as ‘pluralism’ –Salvation through examination, confession, guidance and correction –Reflects managerial ideology in general: managing subjectivity & engineering the soul

12 Heelas (1996) The New Age – origins in 60’s, against capitalism and commercialism The New Age – origins in 60’s, against capitalism and commercialism est (Erhard Seminars Training) est (Erhard Seminars Training) Increasingly involved in mainstream business – ‘selling enlightenment’ Increasingly involved in mainstream business – ‘selling enlightenment’ Self-spirituality – the unifying theme behind these eclectic practices Self-spirituality – the unifying theme behind these eclectic practices

13 Heelas (2002) Soft capitalism Soft capitalism The turn to life The turn to life The self-work ethic and self-spirituality The self-work ethic and self-spirituality

14 Roberts (2002) New Age management techniques New Age management techniques Self-development and HRM Self-development and HRM Empowerment and self-supervision Empowerment and self-supervision Religiosity as a resource - problematic Religiosity as a resource - problematic

15 Rose & Townley Power/knowledge and subjectivity Power/knowledge and subjectivity Technologies of the self: Technologies of the self: –Techniques that permit individuals to work on themselves – bodies, souls, thoughts etc – in order to attain happiness, purity, wisdom, perfection or immortality (Foucault 1988)

16 Rose & Townley Rose - self fulfilment by means of, not in spite of work Rose - self fulfilment by means of, not in spite of work Townley – techniques of HRM (including spirituality) encourage self- knowledge, self- development – in effect self-governance Townley – techniques of HRM (including spirituality) encourage self- knowledge, self- development – in effect self-governance

17 To conclude Aim was to encourage deeper reflection and analysis on organisational practices and HRM Aim was to encourage deeper reflection and analysis on organisational practices and HRM Spirituality in the workplace represents one type of practice among many that can be analysed in this way. Spirituality in the workplace represents one type of practice among many that can be analysed in this way.

18 References & Bibliography Ackers, P. and Preston, D. (1997) “Born again? The ethics and efficacy of the conversion experience in contemporary management...”, Journal of Management Studies, volume 34, issue 5, pg Ackers, P. and Preston, D. (1997) “Born again? The ethics and efficacy of the conversion experience in contemporary management...”, Journal of Management Studies, volume 34, issue 5, pg Ashmos, D.P. and Duchon, D. (2000) “Spirituality at work: a conceptualisation and measure”, Journal of Management Inquiry, volume 9, issue 2, pg Ashmos, D.P. and Duchon, D. (2000) “Spirituality at work: a conceptualisation and measure”, Journal of Management Inquiry, volume 9, issue 2, pg Bell, E. and Taylor, S. (2003) “The Elevation of work: Pastoral power and the New Age work ethic”, Organization, volume 10, issue 2, pg Bell, E. and Taylor, S. (2003) “The Elevation of work: Pastoral power and the New Age work ethic”, Organization, volume 10, issue 2, pg Benefiel, M. (2003) “Irreconcilable Foes? The discourse of spirituality and the discourse of organisational science”, Organization, volume 10, issue 2, pg Benefiel, M. (2003) “Irreconcilable Foes? The discourse of spirituality and the discourse of organisational science”, Organization, volume 10, issue 2, pg Berman Brown, R. (2003) “Organisational Spirituality: the sceptic’s version”, Organization, volume 10, issue 2, pg Berman Brown, R. (2003) “Organisational Spirituality: the sceptic’s version”, Organization, volume 10, issue 2, pg Biberman, J. and Whitty M. (1997) “A Post-modern Spiritual Future for Work”, Journal of Organisational Change Management, volume 10, issue 2, pg ). Biberman, J. and Whitty M. (1997) “A Post-modern Spiritual Future for Work”, Journal of Organisational Change Management, volume 10, issue 2, pg ). Bromley, D.G. (1995) “Quasi-Religious corporations: a new integration of religion and capitalism?”, in Roberts, R. (ed.) (1995) “Religion and the Transformations of Capitalism: comparative approaches”, London: Routledge. Bromley, D.G. (1995) “Quasi-Religious corporations: a new integration of religion and capitalism?”, in Roberts, R. (ed.) (1995) “Religion and the Transformations of Capitalism: comparative approaches”, London: Routledge.

19 References & Bibliography Dehler, G.E. and Welsh, M.A. (1994) “Spirituality and Organisational Transformation: implications for the new management paradigm”, Journal of Managerial Psychology, volume 9, issue 6, pg Dehler, G.E. and Welsh, M.A. (1994) “Spirituality and Organisational Transformation: implications for the new management paradigm”, Journal of Managerial Psychology, volume 9, issue 6, pg Fox, M. (1994) “The Reinvention of Work”, New York, Harper San Francisco. Fox, M. (1994) “The Reinvention of Work”, New York, Harper San Francisco. Heelas, P. (2002) “Work ethics, soft capitalism and the ‘turn to life’”, in du Gay, P. and Pryke, M. “Cultural Economy: cultural analysis and commercial life”, London, Sage. Heelas, P. (2002) “Work ethics, soft capitalism and the ‘turn to life’”, in du Gay, P. and Pryke, M. “Cultural Economy: cultural analysis and commercial life”, London, Sage. Heelas, P. (1996) “The New Age Movement: The celebration of the self and the sacralization of modernity”, Oxford: Blackwell Publishers. Heelas, P. (1996) “The New Age Movement: The celebration of the self and the sacralization of modernity”, Oxford: Blackwell Publishers. Heelas, P. (1992) “The Sacralization of the Self and New Age Capitalism”, in Abercrombie, N. and Warde, A. (eds.) “Social Change in Contemporary Britain”, Cambridge, Polity Press. Heelas, P. (1992) “The Sacralization of the Self and New Age Capitalism”, in Abercrombie, N. and Warde, A. (eds.) “Social Change in Contemporary Britain”, Cambridge, Polity Press. ‘KFC bosses hot foot it to hospital’, The Sun, 01/03/02 ‘KFC bosses hot foot it to hospital’, The Sun, 01/03/02 Krakhmalnik, A. “New and Old: An overview of (self)spirituality and (pseudo)religion in contemporary organisations”. (MA Dissertation, Dpt OWT, 2002) Krakhmalnik, A. “New and Old: An overview of (self)spirituality and (pseudo)religion in contemporary organisations”. (MA Dissertation, Dpt OWT, 2002) Lean and Meaningful: A New Culture for Corporate America. (1998 August) HR Magazine, pg Lean and Meaningful: A New Culture for Corporate America. (1998 August) HR Magazine, pg. 117.

20 References & Bibliography Mitroff, I.I. (2003) “Do not promote religion under the guise of spirituality”, Organization, volume 10, issue 2, pg Mitroff, I.I. (2003) “Do not promote religion under the guise of spirituality”, Organization, volume 10, issue 2, pg Mitroff, I.I. and Denton, E.A. (1999) “A Study of Spirituality in the Workplace”, Sloan Management Review, volume 40, issue 4, pg Mitroff, I.I. and Denton, E.A. (1999) “A Study of Spirituality in the Workplace”, Sloan Management Review, volume 40, issue 4, pg Pattison, S. (1997) “The Faith of the Managers: When Management becomes Religion”, Wiltshire: Redwood Books. Pattison, S. (1997) “The Faith of the Managers: When Management becomes Religion”, Wiltshire: Redwood Books. Roberts, R. (2002) “Religion, Theology and the Human Sciences”, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Roberts, R. (2002) “Religion, Theology and the Human Sciences”, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Rose, N. (1999) “Governing the Soul: The Shaping of the Private Self”, Second Edition, London: Free Association Books. Rose, N. (1999) “Governing the Soul: The Shaping of the Private Self”, Second Edition, London: Free Association Books. Rose, N. (1998) “Inventing ourselves: Psychology, power and personhood”, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. Rose, N. (1998) “Inventing ourselves: Psychology, power and personhood”, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. Townley, B. (1994) “Reframing Human Resource Management: Power, Ethics and the Subject at Work”, London, Sage. Townley, B. (1994) “Reframing Human Resource Management: Power, Ethics and the Subject at Work”, London, Sage. Townley, B. (1993) “Foucault, power/knowledge, and its relevance for Human Resource Management”, The Academy of Management Review, Mississippi State, July, Townley, B. (1993) “Foucault, power/knowledge, and its relevance for Human Resource Management”, The Academy of Management Review, Mississippi State, July,


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