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Title: Business and sustainable development : lessons from spiritual organisations
Author: Brearley, Sarah Grace.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3478 1632
Awarding Body: University of Huddersfield
Current Institution: University of Huddersfield
Date of Award: 2003
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It is increasingly evident that current corporate environmental management activities are insufficient to move organisations towards sustainable development, the quest for which will require alternative tools and strategies, which recognise social and environmental issues. It is suggested that spirituality - which appears to offer great capacity for encompassing social and environmental considerations - could represent a catalyst for change. The aim of the research was to explore the potential of spirituality to enhance the sustainable development approaches of organisations working with spirituality, by examining the social experiences within the organisations and the environmental approaches being undertaken. A theoretical base was constructed by exploring three different pairs of literature: business and the environment, including an assessment of current corporate environmental management approaches; the sustainable development aspects of spirituality, including discussions on Buddhism, Shamanism and Christian Dimensions; and the emergent area of spirituality and business. U sing core concepts extracted from the literature review, fieldwork was undertaken into the experiences of leaders and staff within fourteen organisations working with spirituality. Seeking to understand reality through the participants' eyes, the case studies aimed to discover the influences, rationales, processes, implications and constraints to incorporating spirituality into business. Although the case study organisations were relatively small, as pioneers of applying spirituality to business they displayed a rich variety of experiences. Using concepts derived from the exploration ofthe literature within a framework derived from the Theory of Reasoned Action, the fieldwork data were analysed in order to extract generalisable processes. From this a list of propositions was developed concerning generalised influences, rationales, processes, implications and constraints to the incorporation of spirituality into business. It was recognised that there were also processes unique to individual organisations, which indicated the presence of an influencing factor - their 'worldview', encompassing motivating factors, the scope of organisational vision, the nature of reality for the organisation, and the understanding of what is spirituality and spiritual. Thus it was discovered that there is a connection between spirituality and sustainable development whereby spirituality has implications on the social experiences within organisations, and impacts on attitudes and behaviours related to the environment. Its strength as a tool for organisational transformation is its relevance to each organisation's worldview. To be effective the approach adopted must recognise, reflect and resonate with the organisational worldview, creating a framework of relevant actions and aims. Such strategies will minimise the adoption of short term prescriptive measures and aid in the design of a long term, developmental programme. To expedite this the research constructed a model to assist organisations in the discovery of their worldview which, along with the generalisable propositions and individual organisational approaches, can be used as an agenda for change towards the state of sustainable development. i
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available