Corporate Eye

Spirituality And Business Oh Really?

Yes really –

Dozens of companies — from Coca-Cola to Microsoft — are becoming more “faith-friendly” as they welcome the spirituality of their employees, allowing groups to meet for Bible study or to discuss business ethics with a religious twist. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta has a Christian Fellowship Group, and the management at Bear Stearns, a Wall Street finance house, endorses and funds a weekly Torah class. Faith at the office. Why not? USA Today, 07347456, JUL 30, 2007

The subject hit the mainstream press in 1999 with a cover story in BusinessWeek

The article indicated that the “largest driver of this trend is the mounting evidence that spirituality minded programs in the workplace not only soothe workers’ psyches but also deliver improved productivity.” The magazine quoted one business professor as saying: “Spirituality could be the ultimate competitive advantage.”

Since publication of the article two developments that accelerated the movement toward workforce spirituality — new generations at work and the 9/11 tragedy. The new generations, to their credit, are not willing to sell their souls to the company. They want more meaning for their work and they are passionate about a balanced work/life.

9/11 caused a seminal change in workers priorities. It caused people reconsider their priorities and to focus on values, family, friends and faith. According to Dr. David W. Miller, Executive Director, Yale Center for Faith & Culture and an Assistant Professor (Adjunct) of Business Ethics at the school,spirituality-at-work movement is still in its early stages and companies are uncertain how to respond. This trend seems to have legs since Patricia Aburdene, futurist and author in her book, Megatrends 2010, she identifies “spirituality in business” as one of the top seven megatrends of the coming decade.

As might be expected, some entrepreneurs have responded to the trend and launched websites. Perhaps the most prominent is BeliefNet.

It is inclusive of every religion and is content rich. Inspirational readings, blogs, community and more all related to spiritual matters. I just don’t get how the horoscope fits in. Oh yes, there are ads. After all the site was funded by venture capitalists and was bought in 2007 by Fox Entertainment Group.

If you are looking for resources about applying spirituality visit Workplace Spirituality.

This is a non-commercial site but there are useful articles. A additional good site is Yale University Ethics and Spirituality in the Workplace. A worthy read is the first download from the Conference Board.

Now go out and get the Spirit.

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Ed Konczal has an MBA from New York University's Stern School of Business (with distinction). He has spent the last 10 years as an executive consultant focusing on human resources, leadership, market research, and business planning. Ed has over 10 years of top-level experience from AT&T in the areas of new ventures and business planning. He is co-author of the book "Simple Stories for Leadership Insight," published by University Press of America.