Characteristics of Spirituality at Work

In addition, as with spirituality, a list of characteristics can often help understand a phenomenon.

Characteristics of the Spirituality at Work

Largely a grass- roots event rather than an organisationally coordinated one.
The primary texts are primary books and the basis of their truth claims is largely assertion.
A pluralistic occurrence but with some hostility toward traditional/fundamental religiosity.
Literature with an overall optimistic and uncritical tone.
Finally, as with spirituality, Spirituality at Work may be expressed in terms of specific beliefs and practices. The table below organizes the individual and organisational aspects of Spirituality at Work in terms of their interior and exterior attributes. Exterior phenomena can be measured and observer by empirical methods. However, interior phenomena require exceptional, narrative, or discursive approaches.

A Proposed Organizing Framework for Spirituality at Work

Interior Exterior


Private mediation and prayer
Practicing spiritual attitudes toward work and colleagues
Deep beliefs about the nature of God, the Universe, Humanity, Order/ Chaos, Grace, etc.

Observable behaviours
Spiritual symbols and talk
Spirituality and leadership development
Spirituality and career development
Empirical research (e.g. well-being, task effectiveness, motivation).

Interior Exterior


Organizing principle
Values programs
Climate, attitudes
Organisational history and mission
Culture, stories, myths

Structural features (e.g. hierarchies, reward systems, measures)
Spiritual goals (multiple stakeholders, non- material outcomes)
Spiritual means (participation? no layoffs?)
Boundaries/statements of policies on Spirituality at Work
Nurturing individual spirituality (e.g. time and space)

This table shows dimensions along which a spiritual organisation may be classified; these are principles and values (interior). The exterior, structural features of an organisation that would promote more spiritual means and outcomes are also worthy of study. These would include identifying reward systems, HR policies, organizing principles, connectivity, and physical layout that would nurture individual spirituality at work, and assist the organisation toward fulfilling more spiritual goals with more spiritual means.

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