Spirituality and Management

In the recent past globalization has been a buzzword in most of the corporate houses. Looking dispassionately it is becoming imminent that globalization cannot be stopped in the world economy. This throws new challenges in managing the projects, people, production and market places. This need is pushing the leadership to adopt new approaches to utilize the time, human resources and the potential of the workforce. Many researchers in the field of Human Resources Development have found that spirituality is going to bring in such capabilities as the globalization process demands. Though spirituality in the life of human being is generations-old, it is being revisited with lot of conviction and confidence. We observe off and on that many successful leaders of the corporate ascribe the success of that organization to their people and not to themselves.

Spirituality and Management

The modern paradigm is characterized by rigid attitudes and beliefs about others and practices in the organizations, establishments of specific rules and procedures, a resistance to change, a tendency to rely only on logic and reason and to scorn intuition and any display of emotion, a scarcity belief, the use of win-lose methods in conflict, the use of power and politics to maintain a power base, and a difficulty in delegation of power. Organizations that are based in the modern paradigm utilize more inflexible bureaucratic structures and a top-down chain of command. Communication is through formal channels and formal policy and procedure manuals.

The spiritual paradigm is characterized by openness to change, employee and managers having a sense of purpose and meaning, an appreciation of being connected to the organization as a whole, a greater likelihood to trust others, a valuing of intuition and emotion in decision making, and use of win-win methods in conflicts. Organizations based in a spiritual paradigm are generally flatter in structure and there is a greater cooperation and collaboration between individual units of the organization – Biberman & Witty 1997

Spirituality is about bringing out a quality that is already present in the human beings and not about bringing/ teaching something which isn’t there. Spirituality is not only job satisfaction, it is beyond. However spirituality from organizations point of view emphasizes on unity, coherence, open communication, honesty, integrity and respect and a balance in both the individual and organizational life and job satisfaction comes from these exhibited patterns.

Spirituality should not be misunderstood as participative management. While some exhibit behavioral patterns like respecting the skills and abilities of their employees, trusting the employees etc are qualities common to both, spirituality in organization extends beyond relationships at work and helps the employees to achieve salvation through work by which the goals of the organization is also achieved. Put differently spirituality helps employees to realize that they have achieved the goals of their life. According to Desiree uhrich, mid-life soul searching, corporate downsizing, quest for stability in unstable world, inclination towards holistic living, global spiritual renaissance and corporate social responsibility movement, change in organizational structure and individual spiritual needs (personal meaning in life and workplace) are some of the reasons for embracing this concept.

Traditional organizations place emphasis on form and function. In contrast to this, organizations operating under this paradigm of spirituality place emphasis on spiritual energy flow, shared visions and aligning employee-values with organizations values.

Dorothy Marcic in her article Human Spirit wrote “An imperative for organization opines that some of the management related word like vision, empowerment, accountability, commitment and customer orientation remain as words and mostly we do not know how to achieve them. Many leaders agree that treating employees decently yields better results, but often fail to implement it and the reason is that ‘our structure has not caught up with our consciousnesses. Organizations have five dimensions Material (building, equipments etc), Intellectual (collective intelligence of employees), volitional (desire to improve, change demands, willingness) and spiritual (transcending the material man). Most of the organizations focus on material, intellectual and some attention to volitional change but ignore emotional and spiritual dimension. The resulting lack of balance almost guarantees only limited success at best and often failures.”

Spiritual principles relate to our inner self, our soul, the part of us that transcends “material men”. Our spiritual nature craves purpose in life. It is the part of us that deals with love, kindness, generosity, understanding, forgiveness, peace and harmony.

It is now commonly said that the work of a Business Executive, Manager or a Top Administrator is such that it leads to ailments such as high blood pressure, diabetes, peptic ulcer or at least tension and stress so that he develops a dependence on sleeping pills and alcohol to free himself from worries that weigh heavily on his mind and drain all his energy. At the end of the day he feels fatigued. It is thought that the nature of the managerial or administrative work is such that these psycho-physical troubles will naturally come up. It is believed that since a manager is under various kinds of pressure and has to keep many deadlines and has to take instant decisions, he must have some stress in the process. But this is a wrong belief. Spiritual knowledge and yoga meditation enables a person to feel relaxed, to be more efficient and less fatigued.

Managers show increasing interest in integrating spirituality and management and this integration offers managers a source of enduring meaning in turbulent times. Their interest is important because for many, integrating spirituality and work brings profound meaning to their jobs as managers. It brings their deepest values to bear on their work and so offers a promise of equally deep fulfillment. Managers committed to spirituality share some similar concerns.

Now let us analyze the work Management as; MAN+AGE+MEN+ T

When we talk of management our thoughts are focused on the concepts of managing Men, Money, Materials and Machines. It is always seen that in doing so we often tend to forget the ‘Man’ within and therefore it is said that Man comes before Men.

There are a few questions that each one of us must ask ourselves

  • How effectively can I manage myself?
  • If I do not know how to manage myself how can I manage others?

Application of spirituality in management means:

  • Preparation of the state of mind so as to be receptive of the knowledge available, developing the skills and motivation required to do one’s job effectively.
  • To weed out all negative tendencies and develop positive attitudes.
  • Develop the ability to cope with pressures of modern management.

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