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Title: An investigation into organisational commitment to spirituality in the workplace
Author: Foster, Scott
ISNI:       0000 0004 5353 5543
Awarding Body: Liverpool John Moores University
Current Institution: Liverpool John Moores University
Date of Award: 2014
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This study examined the emerging debate on spirituality in the workplace. As spirituality gains impetus, organisations have proactively accommodated the needs of their multi-ethnic and multi-faith workforce and have started integrating spirituality into their policies. The study sought to gauge the employees and managers’ perceptions of the importance of spirituality in the workplace. Spirituality represents a complex phenomenon that embraces an awareness of others, coupled with a sense of fulfilment and values, which add meaning to life. Overall, a lack of clear policy and acknowledgment regarding spirituality within organisations is apparent. The extant literature suggests that spirituality as a research topic suffers from fragmentation, dearth, and confusion which sometimes makes it difficult to propose a comprehensive theory. The complexity and ambiguity of spirituality as a concept means it is often confused with religious rituals. Spirituality is not the same as religion, although religion can be the focus of an individual’s spirituality or the way in which an individual’s spirituality is recognised and expressed. Both spirituality and religion can operate independently from each other. As a result, many scholars have realised the need for a more unified interpretation of the term spirituality. Adopting a predominantly positivist stance, two organisations in England were surveyed. Using a purpose-designed questionnaire, a return of 628 was achieved, with a reliability of 0.87 (Cronbach Alpha). Analysis was undertaken as a data set using independent variables which related to biographical factors, including a person’s faith and their organisation. This was supported by qualitative data using semi-structured interviews with senior management in both organisations. Findings and analysis highlighted that employees did not feel comfortable discussing spirituality; nor did they feel it was appropriate to practise spirituality within the workplace. In their perceptions of spirituality policies, both organisations proffered initiatives that, in the absence of a coherent policy, employees struggled to accommodate employee spiritual needs. Overall, the findings revealed that the limited policies or procedures that were in place often left the employees ambivalent as to whether the organisation had any genuine interest in their spiritual well-being. Since employee spirituality is under-researched, this study investigated the nature of workplace spirituality to benefit academic research through expanding the knowledge in this area, to produce a model of spirituality. The study findings will led to new knowledge on spirituality that can assist in the formulation of suitable strategies to enhance employee spiritual well-being. This study is pertinent in the current economic recession, whereby employees of different ethnic backgrounds may feel vulnerable, with the possibility of spirituality manifesting itself in the workplace as a source of conflict. To address the issue of potential spiritual conflict, organisations will need to build high-trust relationships in the workplace.
Supervisor: Menacere, Karim; Lawless, Aileen; Mouzughi, Yusra Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Keywords: Spirituality ; professional ethics ; organisational values ; business ; human resource development and business policies.