Concepts of Spirituality within Traditional Management and Organisation Discourse

By Ekaterina Zhuravleva-Todarello and Elizabeth More.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Over the last decade or so, we have witnessed a growing interest in the role of spirituality within traditional management and organisation discourse and research – a move beyond focusing on rational and non-rational issues, including those of emotion and intuition, to something perhaps more encompassing and holistic, maybe best popularised initially by Zohar and Marshall’s monograph on Spiritual Intelligence (2000). Yet, the questioning of the legitimacy of the construct of spirituality and its appropriateness in organisation discourse continues. In light of this ongoing debate, we offer an evolutionary-frame perspective on the development of the construct of spirituality, to demonstrate that while the ideas of organisational spirituality became quite popular in the twenty first century, the origins of this construct are present in the longer evolution of organisation and management thought. The paper forms part of a broader study of spirituality within contemporary organisations, investigating the relationship between employees and organisations from a spiritual perspective.
The question addressed here is how did interest about and an increased presence of spirituality in organisational life evolve, the answers to which should assist comprehension of the phenomenon and contextualise further research in the field. In answering within the scope of a paper, we have combined the work of Bolman and Deal (2008) who provide a frame (multi-perspective) model that summarises traditional management and organisation literature, and that of Wilber (1996, 2000), whose meta-framework offers an integrated, non-dual perspective on reality, where external and internal, collective and individual are part and parcel of each other. We focus on how organisational thought developing within broader societal development, scientific discoveries, and achievements in philosophy, spurred the evolution of the concept of spirituality as connected and opposed to religion. This crucial dimension in answering our question is explored by outlining the main trends in conceptualising spirituality and religion, and making our case for defining both in the context of organisation discourse.

Keywords: Organisational Spirituality, Traditional Management And Organisation Discourse, Multiperspective Framework, Integral Framework

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp.143-160. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.192MB).

Ekaterina Zhuravleva-Todarello

PhD Student, Macquarie Graduate School of Management, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Ekaterina Zhuravleva-Todarello has had diverse international work experience in the field of management. Her research interests are in the area of spirituality in business, in particular, in the aspect of the spiritual identities of employees in organisational contexts, and relationship between employees and their organisations. Ekaterina Zhuravleva-Todarello is currently a doctoral student, completing her PhD on the topic of “Managing the Relationship between Individuals and Their Organisations: A Spiritual Perspective on Contemporary Organisational Life” at Macquarie Graduate School of Management (MGSM), Australia.

Prof. Elizabeth More

MBA Director, Executive Director of Institute for Sustainable Leadership, Macquarie Graduate School of Management, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Professor More is Macquarie University’s Academic Director of Macquarie City and Professor of Management, Macquarie Graduate School of Management (MGSM) following a three year period as Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University, preceded by her term as Deputy Vice-Chancellor to the University of Canberra. Prior to these positions she was Director of the Graduate School of Management, Chair of Academic Senate at Macquarie University, and Managing Director of MGSM Pty Ltd. Professor More holds a first class honours degree in Humanities and a Ph.D from the University of N.S.W.; a Graduate Diploma in Management from the University of Central Queensland; and a Masters degree in Commercial Law from Deakin University. Professor More has given conference presentations and published widely, both locally and internationally, in the field of organization studies, particularly in the areas of organizational change, communication, culture, and knowledge management. And international editorial boards including the Australian Journal of Communication; Journal of Communication Management; and Knowledge and Process Management.

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