Chapter 3: Spirituality in the Workplace
The previous chapter dealt with spirituality in general, considering the various definitions of, approaches to, and developmental theories of spirituality and spiritual intelligence. In this chapter, the focus will be on workplace spirituality, its definitions, and a brief history of the subject. Spiritual leadership is also addressed, as it has a bearing on organisational outcomes and employee wellbeing. The influence of traditional religions on organisational spirituality is highlighted, as it gives another view of religion in business. Business ethics and its relationship to workplace spirituality are also addressed in this chapter. The inclusion of spirituality at work entails certain ethical dilemmas that have to be considered thoroughly. Several studies have been done on spirituality at work, which has necessitated the development of adequate measures of spirituality at work. These measures are briefly mentioned in the subsections. Historically, traditional religions like Christianity, Hinduism and Islam put work as an essential element in a person’s life. However, in modern times, it was more acceptable to include spirituality in organisations. The thesis considered workplace spirituality for it was an asset to any organisation and the target group was working age adult in Mauritius. Studies demonstrated the benefits of workplace spirituality since more than a decade. Workplace spirituality was linked to organisational commitment, performance and connectedness at the employee level (Garcia-Zamor 2003; Rozuel, 2013). Workplace spirituality eventually lead to ethical behaviour (McGhee & Grant, 2008). The various definitions of spirituality in the organisation included some of dimensions in the present study such as meaningful work (Pardasani et al., 2014; Sheep, 2006), self-knowledge (Dehler & Welsh, 2003), and transcendence (Giacalone & Jurkiewicz, 2003; Sheep, 2006). The shortcomings in the measurement of SQ in the workplace required a reliable and valid measure that was applied to the local reality. Thus the need for the MSIS at work.
Organisations are formed and handled in agreement with a sense of order based in the Cartesian-Newtonian system of thought (Capra, 1982, as cited in Gull & Doh, 2004). The Cartesian split generated a false division between body and mind (Rego & Pina e Cunha, 2008). In this system of thought, the ‘logical, the empirical and the rational’ (Gull & Doh, 2004, p. 129) mattered most—that is, the objective and material facets of things. In parallel, Mauritius has witnessed a generalised change in its family structure, from an extended family to a nuclear family structure. The decline in conventional sources of community such as membership in a religious institution has also been observed in the last decade. These reasons have led people to look for community at work, for a sense of ‘wholeness and connectedness’ (Duchon & Plowman 2005, p. 822). The escalating interest in spirituality at work paved the way to a ‘spirituality movement’ (Karakas, 2010, p. 90; see also Crossman, 2015), not just a craze (Miller & Ewest, 2013). The spirituality movement can be manifested either as ‘employee pull’ or ‘organisation push’ (Singhal Chatterjee, 2006, p. 167). The former refers to the demands of the employees for spirituality at work because of stressful situations, while the latter refers to the inclusion of spirituality in the workplace by the organisation for accrued benefits. It has been nearly two decades since workplace spirituality, organisational spirituality, or spirituality at work caught the interest of researchers and practitioners (Rozuel, 2013). The phenomenon is regarded as ‘applied spirituality’ (Rozuel, 2013,682), which is how a person reconciles his or her personal spirituality with his or her external environment.
Fry (2003) claimed that workplace spirituality must be understood within a holistic background of intertwined cultural and personal values. Mohamed et al. (2001, as cited in Oliveira, n.d.) asserted that organisational theories and models which disregarded the spiritual aspect would stay deficient. Spirituality in the workplace embraces a wide range of phenomena and is lived both within and outside of formal religious customs focussed on the private experience of the sacred and one’s connection to it, to others, and to life itself contextualised in the workplace (Gockel, 2004). Rozuel (2013) reported the advantages of a spiritual outlook at work included amplified intuition and imagination, righteousness and trust, individual contentment, and greater organisational commitment and performance (Jurkiewicz & Giacalone, 2004; Duchon & Plowman, 2005). Garcia-Zamor (2003) reviewed several studies on workplace spirituality and reported that fostering spirituality at work meant that spiritual values had to be inculcated in the organisational culture and spiritual such as interconnectedness had to be fulfilled for employees’ overall development.
The contemporary perspective views spirituality as positively impacting various organisational outcomes (McGhee & Grant, 2008). Moore and Casper (2006) indicated that workplace spirituality could benefit organisations at three levels: the societal, the organisational, and the employee level. At the societal level, workplace spirituality enhanced trust and competence in people’s integrity (Miller, 2001, as cited in Moore & Casper, 2006). Pardasani, Sharma, and Bindlish (2014) remarked that organisations that bore a certain responsibility towards the nation and society participate in good practices such as corporate social responsibility, corporate governance, and ethical business operations, all of which uphold spirituality at the workplace. The inclusion of spirituality in the work sphere could generate sustainable performance and a competitive edge (Fry & Matherly, 2006). Consider the following example of corporate social responsibility: many organisations such as private banking institutions and telephone companies in Mauritius sponsor special schools and offer training for special needs students in special programmes designed to help the deprived population. Conversely, a recent fraud scandal involving 1 billion Mauritian rupees, a well-known insurance company, and a banking institution had an adverse effect on the morale and trust of the Mauritian population. Workplace spirituality raises the perception of wellbeing, morale, and employees’ organisational commitment (Karakas, 2010; Chawla & Guda, 2010; Rego & Pina e Cunha, 2008; Jurkiewicz & Giacalone, 2004). Organisational spirituality is positively correlated with job involvement, organisational identification, and work rewards satisfaction, and negatively correlated with organisational frustration (Kolodinsky, Giacalone & Jurkiewicz, 2008). According to Karakas (2010), extensive research has shown that spirituality is beneficial to employees in terms of wellbeing and quality of life; in offering a sense of purpose and significance in their jobs; and in engendering a feeling of ‘interconnectedness and community’ (p. 89). Spiritual growth commences inside a person, and the expression of spirituality in the workplace begins with a transformation in an individual employee; subsequently the organisational context is positively stimulated by these spiritual changes (Pawar, 2009).
Sprung, Sliter, and Jex (2012) also found that spirituality in the workplace was related to higher job satisfaction (Altaf & Awan, 2011; Chawla & Guda, 2010) and lower stress. Organisational cultures that demonstrate high levels of workplace spirituality are assumed to have a positive outcome on organisational members’ motivation and adaptability (Jurkiewicz & Giacalone, 2004). Spirituality is a buffer against tough situations. Koszycki, Bilodeau, Raab-Mayo, and Bradwejn (2013) noted that the positive relationships between religion, spirituality, and mental wellbeing was seen in social, cognitive, behavioural, and biological pathways. This was expressed explicitly in social relatedness, in giving meaning to life, in the averting of highly hazardous behaviours, and in variations in ‘neurobiological, neurohormonal, neuroimmunologic and cardiovascular functioning’ (Koszycki et al., 2013, p. 490). Sprung et al. (2012) observed that spirituality played a significant part in the manner in which employees responded to aggression in the workplace. Highly spiritual participants had a negative reaction to aggression in the workplace. However, the benefits of spirituality were felt when the working milieu and a person’s belief system were aligned (Sprung et al., 2012). According to Paloutzian, Emmons, and Keortge (2003), spiritual intelligence contains all the spiritually related ideas needed for a healthy working environment.
Definitions of workplace spirituality
Pardasani et al. (2014) observed five components of workplace spirituality recurrent through the literature: meaningful work, transcendence of self, interconnectedness, holistic growth and development, and alignment with organisational values. Ashmos and Duchon (2000) claimed that workplace spirituality was about the appreciation of an inner life nurtured and sustained by meaningful work occurring in the context of community. Saks (2011) used the dimensions of organisational spirituality proposed by Ashmos and Duchon (2000) to explain how workplace spirituality was both directly and indirectly correlated with employee engagement, through psychological conditions like meaningfulness in work and at work. Neck and Milliman (1994) noted that spirituality has its contribution at work. According to Neck and Milliman (1994), the authors Block (1993) and Ray (1992) claimed that workplace spirituality was a demonstration of human needs to find meaning and purpose in their lives and was also a process of following one’s set of genuinely held individual values. Although not every individual feels spirituality, every human has that potential (Neck & Milliman, 1994). Vaughan (1989, as cited in Neck & Milliman, 1994) suggested that spirituality could influence the deep consciousness level, and hence a person’s intuitive skills. Furthermore, the ‘spirituality-based intuition’ (p. 10) enables employees to build up a more meaningful and captivating organisational vision (Neck & Milliman, 1994). Hawley (1993, as cited in Neck & Milliman, 1994) also added that workplace spirituality offers the chance for employees to feel a higher sense of service and greater personal advancement. Finally, spirituality in an organisation could boost teamwork and employee commitment (Hawley, 1993; Brown, 1992; Rosen, 1992, as cited in Neck & Milliman, 1994). Neck and Milliman (1994) proposed a cognitive approach to the inclusion and acceptability of workplace spirituality. Their first three steps involved an observation/record, analysis, and the deconstruction and reconstruction of held beliefs and assumptions, self-talk, and mental imagery. Following from this, the new positive thinking would boost the person’s work perception, which could result in more expansive thinking and greater spirituality at work. Ultimate consequence was hypothesised to impact on the individual and his or her work performance.
Mitroff and Denton (1999, as cited in Pardasani et al., 2014) defined workplace spirituality from an individual’s point of view and stated that it entailed the presence of meaning in life, an interconnection with others, and corresponded to organisational values. Mitroff and Denton (1999) conducted a study with senior executives, human resource executives, and managers, and reported four orientations towards religion and spirituality, as mentioned in the previous chapter. Based on these findings, Mitroff and Denton (1999) developed five organisational models of spirituality and religion. Organisations that implemented a positive vision of both spirituality and religion or a positive view of religion but a negative view of spirituality were called religious-based organisations; organisations that espoused a positive view towards spirituality but a negative view of religion were either evolutionary organisations, recovering organisations, or socially responsible organisations. Evolutionary organisations initially started with a strong identification with a certain religion, but this lapsed over time (Mitroff & Denton, 1999). One recovering organisation in Mauritius is the ‘Centre de Solidarite’ for alcoholics and drug addicts: it is a values-based organisation that embraces a negative perspective of both religion and spirituality (Mitroff Denton, 1999). An example of a values-based organisation is the Mauritius Commercial Bank Limited (MCB Ltd), which promotes an eco-friendly environment through advertisements and special programs on the effective use of scarce resources. It was also a major sponsor of the Jeux des Iles de l’Ocean Indien6 (Indian Ocean Island Games) of 2015.
Pina e Cunha, Rego, and D’Oliveira (2006) claimed that there were two types of individuals, dependent and independent employees. The authors also stated that there were two types of organisations—the spiritually informed and the spiritually ignorant. The combination led to four categories of organisational spirituality: the soulful organisation, the holistic organisation, the ascetic organisation, and the professional organisation. A soulful organisation, defined as spiritually conversant management with dependent employees, aligned organisational vision with employees’ aims and objectives (Pina e Cunha et al., 2006). An ascetic organisation merged the view of management as a spiritually uninformed practice with dependent employees, where the focus was on ‘rationality and technique’ (Pina e Cunha et al., 2006, p. 225) to the detriment of spirituality. A holistic organisation was described as a spiritually informed practice within a business with independent employees: it was employee-focused and promoted employees’ self-development. Finally, the professional organisation was portrayed as spiritually ignorant with independent employees—the spiritual aspect was left outside the business sphere and the instrumental feature of the organisation was emphasised (Pina e Cunha et al., 2006). Although all such organisations follow ethical codes, the spiritual is left to individual employees to pursue. The authors explained that all four types of organisational spirituality had their downfall due to the possibility of dictatorship by management regarding spiritual matters and complete alienation regarding employees’ sense of purpose and self-growth. Thus management must be careful in their inclusion, non-inclusion, or maintenance of spirituality in the workplace.
Dehler and Welsh (2003) defined spirituality as the ‘expression of spirit’ (p. 114) outwardly (as in a behaviour) or cognitively. The authors remarked that when employees’ values were harmonious with organisational values, they could more easily add work into their lives. Kouzes and Posner (1995, as cited in Dehler & Welsh, 2003) posited that the clarity of both individual and work values positively influence organisational commitment. The main factor contributing to organisational commitment is the self-knowledge of individuals, even in the absence of clear organisational values (Dehler & Welsh, 2003). Therefore, it was a prerequisite for an organisation to help an employee develop self-awareness to gain self-knowledge. Self-awareness—an ability rather than a value—was a dimension of the MSIS-1. Simply including spirituality in the workplace is not sufficient, because every individual has different ways of expression. Prior to fulfilling the spiritual needs of an employee, assessments have to be made at various levels. Assessing spiritual intelligence, in this case, is beneficial to the individual and organisation. Workplace spirituality would therefore entail the recognition of the power of spiritual intelligence over organisational outcomes.
Sheep (2006) stated that workplace spirituality was contextualised and theorised as lived experiences and manifestations of a person’s spirituality in the working environment and workplace. Sheep reviewed a decade of literature on the subject and proposed a definition of workplace spirituality which encompassed self-workplace integration, meaning in work, transcendence of self, and growth/development. The first concept, self-workplace integration, meant that an employee brought his or her whole self, including the physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual facets, to the workplace. Organisations should strive to fulfil all of these needs. Sheep (2006) viewed dimensions of workplace spirituality as a possible solution to the problems of life disintegration, meaningless work, individual self-absorption, and personal sluggishness and frustration. Regarding the meaning in life concept, which is the quest for a higher meaning of one’s work and a transcendence of self and the connection with others as a community are both similar to the two dimensions of spiritual intelligence proposed in this thesis.
Milliman, Czaplewski, and Ferguson (2003) took three dimensions from the study of Ashmos and Duchon (2000) and used the level of analysis proposed by Neal and Bennett (2000) to identify three levels of workplace spirituality. These levels were the individual level (including meaningful work), the group level (to embrace a sense of community); and the organisational level (to comprise of alignment with organisation values). Dimensions of spirituality were positively related to organisational commitment. However, regarding the other outcome variables like intention to quit, intrinsic work satisfaction, job involvement and organisation based self-esteem, their relationships to the dimensions of spirituality produced mixed results. Milliman et al.’s (2003) study was based on US participants, and spiritual values were considered with no mention of the ethnic profile of the participants. The application of the research in a different working environment and in another culture could prove problematic. Different cultures emphasise different values; assessing spiritual values is a daunting task because of the inexhaustible list of values which a culture can generate.
Kinjerski and Skrypnek (2004) conducted a small-scale study with 16 participants from the United States, Canada, and England and proposed a definition of ‘spirit at work’ (p. 37) as a holistic experience which included the physical, affective, cognitive, interpersonal, spiritual, and mystical dimensions. Kinjerski and Skrypnek (2004) reported that spirit at work (p. 31) involved a positive state of arousal, a deep feeling of joy and wellbeing, an awareness of the congruence between beliefs, behaviours, and the presence of meaning, an interconnection with others and a higher power, and a sense of transcendence. Kinjerski and Skrypnek (2004; see also Gotsis & Kortezi, 2008) advanced the argument that the concept underpinning workplace spirituality was the ability to carry one’s whole self to work. Moore and Casper (2006) reviewed existing literature and proposed three dimensions of spirituality relevant to the work environment. The first was self-work immersion, or in business terms, perceived organisational support, defined as the ability to take one’s spirituality into the workplace. The second dimension was interconnectedness or affective organisational commitment, defined as the sentiment of belonging to something bigger than oneself. The third was self-actualisation, or the more professionally adapted term, the intrinsic job satisfaction taken from Maslow’s research on motivation. The authors mentioned that their study lacked an important dimension, namely meaningful work. As they took an ability perspective towards spirituality, it would be more appropriate to look at spiritual intelligence and assess the ability using an assessment tool which does not overlook key dimensions. The benefits being immense, such a tool would be suitable to the ethno-cultural population.
Kolodinsky et al. (2008) defined workplace spirituality at the individual level to embrace the person’s spiritual ideals and values in the work milieu. Thus, workplace spirituality is the application of ‘personal spirituality’ (Kolodinsky et al., 2008, p. 466), as well as the impact of the spiritual values which an individual brought to the workplace in terms of employee interactions and outcomes. At the macro-level, workplace spirituality is organisational spirituality, defined as mirroring a person’s perception of spiritual values within an organisational environment (Kolodinsky et al., 2008). The authors mentioned an interactive level of workplace spirituality, which was an interaction between a person’s private spiritual values and the organisation’s spiritual principles. This concept is equivalent to the concept of person-environment fit (P-O fit), a perceptual construct which concerns feelings of equivalence between an employee’s values and an organisation’s culture (Caplan & Harrison, 1993; Cable & DeRue, 2002, as cited in Kolodinsky et al., 2008). Kolodinsky et al. (2008) claimed that a solid correspondence between employees’ values and their view of organisational spiritual values could result in more positive attitudinal outcomes. Another useful concept suggested by Kolodinsky et al. (2008) to appreciate the impact of spiritual values on attitudinal consequences is the spill-over theory. In the case of vertical spill-over, this means that happiness in one dimension, such as a spiritual being, could spread general life happiness. With regard to horizontal spill-over, satisfaction in one domain, such as the spiritual domain, could influence other domains, such as occupation or family life.
Giacalone and Jurkiewicz (2003) defined workplace spirituality as a structure of organisational values, supported by a culture which endorses employees’ experience of transcendence (as cited in Giacalone & Jurkiewicz, 2015; Pardasani et al., 2014). Validating transcendence through the work process smoothens the sense of being connected to others in an approach that imparts feelings of completeness and joy. Giacalone and Jurkiewicz (2003) stated that culture was a causal variable in the evolution and expansion of an organisation, as well as a determining factor of labour productivity. Based on the work of Buchanan (1994), Becker (1998) presented the notion of culture as an explicit constituent of social capital which affected utility (as cited in Giacalone & Jurkiewicz, 2015). Buchanan’s (1994) work confirmed culture as a facilitator or obstacle to the quantity and quality of work effort. Giacalone and Jurkiewicz (2015) remarked that the authors Altman (2001) and Becker (1998) observed that cultural factors linked to workplace spirituality were found to overrule the economic-political setting. According to Giacalone & Jurkiewicz (2015), the dimensions of spirituality could be viewed as trait-like qualities: fixed, passive, and including rites and customs, or it could be taken as a set of skills or abilities which changes, grows, and interacts with the outside environment. Giacalone and Jurkiewicz (2015) showed spiritual intelligence as part of the dimensionality of spirituality— specifically, the dynamic part of spirituality.
A brief history of workplace spirituality
Benefiel, Fry, and Geigle (2014) reviewed the historical incorporation of spirituality in the workplace dating from the sixth century, during which Saint Benedict accentuated the integration of work and prayer to discipline the body and soul. The authors remarked that the industrial revolution was also influenced by the Protestant work ethic, which aspired to spiritualise the working environment. However, this work ethic has a negative connotation, in the belief that humans are fundamentally sinful and must practice self-restraint in order to deny the tendency toward hedonism. According to Benefiel et al. (2014), the recent emphasis on workplace spirituality has its roots in the ‘Faith at Work’ (p. 176) movement, which dates back to the nineteenth century. This movement had three eras: the social gospel era, from the 1890s to 1945, which advocated gospel within the business sphere; the laity era (or Miller’s second era) from 1946 to 1985, with the emphasis being on laity’s work being equally important as prayer; and the third era known as Miller’s (2007, as cited in Benefiel et al., 2014) third era, which was from 1986 to the present). Miller’s third era corresponds to the current interest in the physical, cognitive, emotional, and spiritual aspects of the individual. Hicks (2003, as cited in Gotsis & Kortezi, 2008) claimed that the appeal for workplace spirituality started in the late 1980s in the United States.
Chapter 1: Introduction
1.1 The multiple nature of intelligence
1.2 The Emergence and evidence of spiritual intelligence
1.3 Heightened interest in Spirituality/Religion in research
1.4 Ethnic identification and ethnic groups in Mauritius
1.5 General purpose of the present research
1.6 Operational definition
1.7 Rationale and significance of the study
1.8 Definition of key terms
1.9 Content overview
Chapter 2: The Spiritual Realm in Psychology
2.1 A panoramic view of spirituality
2.2 The history and nature of spirituality
2.3 Spirituality and religion: The debate and differences
2.4 Approaches to spirituality
2.5 Spirituality: Its development theories
2.6 Types of spirituality
2.7 The plausibility of spiritual intelligence: Concepts and theories
Chapter 3: Spirituality in the Workplace
3.1 Definitions of workplace spirituality
3.2 A brief history of workplace spirituality
3.3 Spiritual leadership in organisations
3.4 Ethics and workplace spirituality
3.5 Measures of workplace spirituality
Chapter 4: Spirituality and Religion in Mauritius
Chapter 5: The Upsurge of Interest in Ethnicity in Psychology
5.1 A broad view of ethnicity
5.2 The foundations of ethnicity and its theoretical development
5.3 Types of ethnicity
5.4 Identity development theories
5.5 Ethnic identity: Definitions and theories
5.6 Mauritius: Its history and ethnic groups
5.7 Multiculturalism and interculturalism
Chapter 6: Methodology
6.1 Research paradigm
6.2 Research design
6.3 Data collection
6.4 Data analysis
6.5 Ethical considerations
Chapter 7: Results
7.1 Study One
7.2 Study Two
Chapter 8: Discussion of results
8.1 The validity and reliability of the Multicultural Spiritual Intelligence Scale (MSIS)
8.2 Ethnic differences in spiritual intelligence
8.3 Gender and spiritual intelligence
8.4 Ethnic identifications of the major ethnic groups
8.5 Limitations of the study
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ETHNIC DIFFERENCES IN SPIRITUAL INTELLIGENCE: A STUDY IN A MULTICULTURAL CONTEXT