The spiritual organization: critical reflections on the instrumentality of workplace spirituality
Journal of Management, Spirituality and Religion
This paper offers a theoretical contribution to the current debate on workplace spirituality by: (a) providing a selective critical review of scholarship, research and corporate practices which treat workplace spirituality in performative terms, that is, as a resource or means to be manipulated instrumentally and appropriated for economic ends; (b) extending Ezioni’s analysis of complex organizations and proposing a new category, the ‘spiritual organization’, and; (c) positing three alternative positions with respect to workplace spirituality that follow from the preceding critique. The spiritual organization can be taken to represent the development of a trajectory of social technologies that have sought, incrementally, to control the bodies, minds, emotions and souls of employees. Alternatively, it might be employed to conceptualize the way in which employees use the workplace as a site for pursuing their own spiritualities (a reverse instrumentalism). Finally, we consider the possible incommensurability of ‘work organization’ and ‘spirituality’ discourses.
Authors' draft of article. Final version published by Routledge in Journal of Management, Spirituality and Religion available online at: http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/titles/14766086.asp
Vol. 7, Issue 4