Spirituality at Work & Business

The Spirituality, Leadership and Management (SLaM) network 

Spirituality, Leadership and Management (SLaM) is an Australian-based network of scholars and practitioners interested in the interface between Spirituality (defined broadly to include conscious living, a sense of meaning, celebration of life and the possibility of personal transformation) and business and organisational life. The SLaM network has been in existence for over a decade in various guises and over the last few years has entered a more vigorous and active phase, in part reflecting the increasing interest in this area among the business world and organisational consultants.

Spirituality has in fact become of increasing interest not only to management scholars and practitioners, but to political scientists, sociologists, social scientists more broadly, especially those concerned with wellbeing and health, and most surprising (or perhaps disturbing) of all, economists! SLaM’s activities include conferences, regular seminars, workshops and publications including the Journal of Spirituality, Leadership and Management, which can be freely downloaded from the SLaM website.

A key driver behind the business and management world’s growing interest in this area relates to the desire and need for companies (especially those that aspire to be seen as good corporate citizens) to engage employees on an emotional as well as intellectual level and provide a sense that they are making a difference through their work. Key is the notion of ‘meaningful work’ discussed in the Lips-Wiersma and Morris review and the possibility for self development and growth, which are encapsulated in the growing ‘workplace spirituality’ movement that is one of the focus areas of SLaM. The three key components to ‘spirituality at work’ are the recognition that:

  • All employees have an inner life or ‘spiritual element’;
  • All employees want to be involved in work that gives meaning to their lives (meaningful work); and
  • All employees need to connect with each other at work (sense of community).1

Some of the previous reviews provided examples of what can be referred to as SQ informed practical tools. SLaM and its Journal of Spirituality, Leadership and Management, is a place where similar ideas and tools are nurtured and shared with other like-minded practitioners. The most recent issue, for example (Volume 6, No.1, 2012) contains articles on spirituality and leadership theory and leadership effectiveness, spirituality in the workplace, as well as spirituality and project management!

This issue also contains an enlightening interview with Richard Barrett, founder of the Barrett Values Centre (www.valuescentre.com) and the Seven Levels of Consciousness model (used by several leading companies). In it he discusses his most recent book The New Leadership Paradigm (Barrett Values Centre, 2010), as well as the importance and role of identity, consciousness and wisdom for responsible business performance. He concludes, ‘…you reach your ultimate level of performance when you become the servant to your soul [which] manifests in a physical body for two reasons: to give your gift (whatever you are passionate about) and to remove fear. As you do the latter, you find that you are more able to do the former.’ (p.73)

If the ideas in this Knowledge Connect have resonated with you then you will receive much value from participating in and learning from the many activities, seminars and publications that SLaM sponsor and produce.

GZ

 1 D.P. Ashmos & D. Duchon, ‘Spirituality at work: A conceptualization and measure’, Journal of Management Inquiry, 9(2), 2000, pp.134-45; Armenio Rego & Miguel Pina e Cunha, ‘Workplace spirituality and organizational commitment: an empirical study’, Journal of Organizational Change Management, 21(1), 2008,  pp. 53-75.

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