Workplace Spirituality: An Issue for Learning and Quality of Work Life

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Workplace Spirituality: An Issue for Learning and Quality of Work Life Kim Nimon Van VanBebber Jeff Allen University of North Texas

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Why this Topic? 95% of Americans believe in God or a universal spirit (Gallup poll) Spirituality - 2nd most important factor in personal satisfaction (USA Weekend poll) Spirited workplaces outperform spiritually weak companies (Harvard Business School)

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Historical Review Spirituality is central to almost every human culture from ancient to modern Industrial revolution stripped away much of what makes us human Human relations era recognized the cognitive contributions of a worker Spiritual element is an emerging field that offers great promise in human performance

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A Living Example Note the various elements of the human person Physical Able to make and use tools to build and create Cognitive Able to think, solve problems and find improved ways to build and create Spiritual Able to connect with others with a desire to build and create something better

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What is it? Deeply held values that guide life and work practices (Butts, 1999)

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What is it? Recognition that employees have an inner life that nourishes and is nourished by meaningful work that take place in the context of community (Ashmos & Duchon, 2000)

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What is it? Framework of organizational values evidenced in the culture that promotes employee’s experience of transcendence through the work process, facilitating their sense of being connected to others in way that provides feelings of completeness and joy (Giacalone & Jurkiewicz, 2003)

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Common Themes Transcendence - belonging to something larger than oneself Holism - harmony, balance , and connectedness Growth - self development, self actualization

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Cases and Examples

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Challenges Spirituality is an individual trait Potential for exploitation rather than growth Recognizing spirituality is part of a system Can spirituality and religion be kept separate?

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Conclusion Spiritual intervention is not a matter of introducing spirituality to the work place – it is already there. Rather, it is a matter of recognizing and nurturing the human spirit for the mutual benefit of the individual, the work group, and the organization.

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Workplace Spirituality: An Issue for Learning and Quality of Work Life Kim Nimon Kim.Nimon@unt.edu Jeff Allen Jeff.Allen@unt.edu University of North Texas