Spiritual profit or profit-oriented spirituality in business?
© 2017 GILE Experts Limited
Spirituality is an important dimension of social capital, which affects other factors, such as the fear of failure, entrepreneurial intentions and perception, and capabilities. Singh (2017) examines the liaison between failure and entrepreneurs’ spirituality. According to the author spirituality influences entrepreneurs’ decision, related to developing future ventures after failure. Stress and lack of confidence often kill creativity and arts, which become the focus of the Wellness Industry. Within the Global Wellness Summit (2017), medical and neuroscience researchers show that stress is the biggest obstacle to creative thinking, while meditation, massage, yoga and exercise are clear paths to unlocking creativity. In light of mental wellness crisis (depression, anxiety, etc.), wellness retreats, spas, fitness studios, schools, workplaces and governments should focus on efficient and innovative mental wellness programs.
Isa and Muhammad (2016) argue that spirituality drives entrepreneurial activities: it appears as a meaningful factor which might be missed in the workplace. GILE Experts add that spirituality might be a key factor among intrapreneurs (entrepreneurial employees), who can run innovative projects and initiate structural changes within an organization. It becomes a challenge for human resource managers to identify these employees. According to the World Economic Forum’s report, prepared by Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (2016), European leaders should invest time, energy and capital in entrepreneurial employees’ activities in order to strengthen competitive advantages of European firms. One of the ways to unlock intrapreneurs’ creative potential is via spiritual practices in business, such us yoga therapy. Spiritual techniques might affect the organizational efficiency through knowledge management, effectiveness of decision-making and business intelligence, creativity and motivation systems, productivity enhancement tools, innovation strategies, and many others components.
As Mikelsone and Liela (2017) argue in their scientific literature review on organizational efficiency, a set of different aspects might be related to organizational efficiency: creativity, job satisfaction, employee engagement, knowledge management, organisational commitment, organizational culture, information culture, leadership, non-profit efficiency, and many others. The authors conclude that organisational efficiency dimensions vary from one context (for instance, economists and shareholders) to another (for example, employees). The authors identify 199 organizational efficiency dimensions and classify them, based on the level of subjectivity and measurability (qualitative measures, such as quality of work life, organizational climate are not direct and more subjective criteria; while quantitative measures, such as profit, ROI or productivity are direct and more objective criteria). Some organizational dimensions are internal, while others – external.
Lauzikas and Miliute (2017) examine organizational efficiency from the perspective of spirituality, which is part of Human Resource Management. Their position is in line with Garg (2017) observation that both academicians and practitioners apply spirituality enhancement techniques to solve human resource challenges; therefore, spirituality might be related to higher purpose, connectedness, and transcendence. To bring spirituality in the workplace managers should receive employees’ spiritual requests (Cash and Gray, 2000) as well as encourage cultural diversity and spiritual enrichment (Krishnakumar and Neck, 2002). Human Resource managers are invited to acknowledge their employees’ emotional, intellectual and spiritual needs, values, priorities and preferences in order to engage people at work (Hall and Mirvis, 1996), taking into consideration their minds, hearts, spirits, souls, and creativity.
While examining the relationship between factors, such as workplace spirituality and employee commitment, job satisfaction and work-life balance satisfaction, we can introduce the term ‘Karma Capital’, related to Indian spiritual values. According to Garg (2017), workplace spirituality is an important precondition for employees’ satisfaction and their value proposition. The next step is to identify the main channels and techniques that could enhance spirituality and link spiritual workplace with organizational efficiency.
According to Denise Rankin-Box (2015), who is an Editor-in-Chief of Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, yoga is an ancient practice (used for more than 2,000 years); however, only recently yoga’s benefits and impacts are examined via research. In light of rapid digitalization, increase in quantity of information as well as multi-dimensional and trans-disciplinary nature of corporate activities and projects, yoga might be used to free up creativity, enhance business intelligence competences, manage stress and conflicts, treat anxiety, motivate employees, strengthen strategic focus and attention, raise productivity levels, reshape perception and attitude, and even rebuild social trust within an organization.
While reconnecting employees with themselves and their workplace, yoga can help identify the organizational context, main business challenges, and opportunities. Therefore, it might be used at three different levels: individual, team, and organizational. Although further research is necessary to measure yoga’s impacts on business performance, the separate effects of yoga postures, breath-control, meditation and lifestyle can determine the best interventions for different medical conditions. According to Sharmiladevi et al. (2017), yoga is both a science and a technology; therefore, adoption of this tool enhances health and wellbeing as well as facilitates individuals and communities to understand the concept of oneness and union while aligning with the ultimate.
GILE Expert Rebekah Debono (2017), who is also a Director of Rhiyz, emphasizes the role of yoga therapy: it is a process of one’s empowerment through the application of teaching and practices of yoga; thus, enhancing health and wellness. Such interpretation might be directly related to spirituality and corporate efficiency.
Sirituality and religiosity manifests in form of rules and taboos (Sood and Nasu, 1995), which, according to GILE Experts, might be found in ethic codes, corporate philosophy or work guideline. Drakopoulou-Dodd and Seaman (1998) add that spirituality and religiosity affect entrepreneurial intentions, enterprise management and networks.
Miliute (2017) relates these impacts to social trust and innovation culture: it is difficult to apply spirituality and wellness practices (such as meditation, yoga, and etc.) when an organization, in particular its management, is not ready, when social trust is withdrawn, and team or organizational creativity system is not established. Moreover, mentoring and coaching can be efficiently used in linking spirituality and business efficiency.
Based on (Fluker, 2008) we should emphasize the purpose and connection to ourselves and others, while interpreting spirituality. Sir John Whitmore (2009) discussed about application of spiritual approaches while working with corporate clients. The spirituality advocate refers to corporate change-making via spirituality. Katherine Long (2012) underlines key conditions to success of spiritual techniques in coaching:
- Working with principles, values, meaning
- Connecting more deeply to own sense of life purpose
- Serving the bigger whole
- Engagement in presence and mindfulness
- Listening at deep levels
- Practicing unconditional, non-judgment, positive regard
- Transformational change
- Moments of grace.
According to GILE Experts, spiritual approaches should be used in consulting, where, as it is argued by Sweeney and Fry (2012), integration with the spiritual leadership model provides leaders and consultants with a set of practices to enhance character development at work. According to the authors, spiritual leadership is related to enhancement of the social awareness, self-motivation, core values and self-identity. Apart from inspiring other employees, spiritual leaders, driven by dynamic and results-oriented personality, should have a clear vision, oriented to group/ team members’ satisfaction and success. This is in line with the definition of coaching provided by the the Centre for Effective Services (2017), which derives from International Coach Federation: coaching refers to interaction with clients inspiring them to maximise their personal and professional potential. Baldonado (2017) uses the term ‘Servant leaders’: organizational members from the lowest to the highest level may provide service to others while showing their empathy and humility. As it was stated by Melchar and Bosco (2010), servant leaders empower employees and provide with participatory job characteristics. It in parallel reshapes attitudes, behaviours, and psychological climates at work (Ozyilmaz and Cicek, 2015).
To create more synergy from symbiosis of spirituality and efficiency, GILE Experts recommend using a set of precise criteria to monitor efficiency and success of spiritual techniques: employees’ motivation and turnover, team and organizational productivity/ profitability, number of creative ideas and percentage of commercialized ideas, initiated projects, revenue from innovative products and services, consumer satisfaction, social trust (in numbers of complains), time for ideas generation, quality and speed of services, number of psychological issues or employees’ health (days calling sick), percentage of creative leaders/ intrapreneurs, and many others.
So can profit margins be spiritual? It depends on how well spirituality practitioners feel business model, firms’ vision and innovation strategies.
Before applying spiritual practices in business, first of all spirituality experts should prepare organizations for such innovative practices: eliminate learning barriers, identify economic and social impacts of spiritual tools (including yoga therapies), indicate learning transfer mechanisms, and conduct primary and secondary research to better feel contexts of different companies and their markets. Symbiosis between spiritual practices and organizational efficiency enhancement is possible when spirituality practitioners and managers speak the same language, and employees are open to changes and innovations.
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