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Draft February 06, 2011

An Exploration of Spirituality Within Leadership Studies Literature


Alicia D. Crumpton, Ph.D.

Abstract
The purpose of this study was to explore the concept of spirituality within leadership studies literature. Research questions included: (a) How is spirituality defined? And (b) How is the concept of spirituality addressed and how is it used? A brief overview of leadership studies context is provided followed by a summary of spirituality definitions, research study findings related to individual, organization, and spiritual leadership and some observations.

Keywords
Spirituality, Spirit, Soul, Leadership, Spiritual Leadership

Introduction
In response to a perceived need for societal change, the Kellogg Foundation examined the role of higher education in creating leaders because they posited that effective leadership is an essential ingredient of positive social change (Astin, Astin & Kellogg, 2000, p. iv). A statement such as this about leadership is no surprise given our intense interest in the topic. For example, a search using the term leadership on Amazon.com yielded 71,554 hits and within academia, there are numerous programs either offering leadership studies degrees or emphasizing leadership development (Crumpton, 2009). While leadership is a hot topic, associating leadership with spirituality, historically, has not been the norm. So when writers indicated, future leadership will not only need to possess new knowledge and skills, but will also be called upon to display a high level of emotional and spiritual wisdom and maturity (Astin, Astin, & Kellogg, 2000, p. 1). Then, Louis Fry (2003) actually proposed a theory of spiritual leadership saying the reason for excluding the topic from discussions of leadership was due to confusion and confounding surrounding the distinction between religion and spirituality (p. 705). I began to ask, what is going on here! The purpose of this study was to explore the concept of spirituality within leadership studies literature. Research questions included: (a) How is spirituality defined? And (b) How is the concept of spirituality addressed and how is it used? A brief overview of leadership studies context is provided followed by a summary of spirituality definitions, research study findings related to individual, organization, and spiritual leadership and some observations. This paper will add to our collective conversation about conceptualizations of spirituality and histories of spirituality.

Context of Leadership Studies


Leadership studies is an interdisciplinary approach to exploring individual and collective behaviors within social groups, organizations, and society. If one were to review discussions of leadership, one would find many definitions. It seems like leadership as a phenomenon is hard to define although we seem to know it when we see or experience it. For this discussion, leadership is defined as a a process whereby an individual influences *another individual or+ a group to achieve a common goal (Northouse, 2010, p. 3). This definition represents a historical evolution in thinking about leadership. Fairholm (2011) described this evolution in terms of generations:

Draft February 06, 2011 1st generation: focused on who the leader is (e.g., great man theory, charismatic leadership and other discussions of traits). Prior to the 1970s, the predominant emphasis was the leader as an individual and his/her point of view. 2nd generation: what leaders do (behavioral theories) 3rd generation: where leadership happens (e.g., contingency theory; situational theory) 4th generation: what leaders think about, value, and do (transactional, transformational, principle-centered, servant leadership, moral leadership, etc.). From the 1970s and 1980s forward, there was increased recognition and attention paid to leadership as an influencing process. Another aspect of the 1970s was an increased focus on morals and values in relation to leadership. The 1990s and 2000s continued to see many proposed leadership approaches and definitions using such terms as: strategic, visionary, connective, authentic, spiritual, responsible, adaptive, and principle centered. 5th generation: spiritual leadership. Each generation is active and fairly independent from another with each still gaining scholarly attention and focus. Leadership theories do not seem to go away but continue to evolve. There has also been a turn towards thinking about spirituality and spiritual leadership within the broader scholarly context within the International Leadership Association (ILA), Academy of Management (AOM), and the Integrating Spirituality and Organizational Leadership Foundation (ISOL). A group of scholars recently submitted a proposal to the ILA suggesting the formation of a Learning Community dedicated to understanding philosophy, religion and worldviews of which spirituality is a part. The AOM created a new special interest group for its members Management, Spirituality and Religion (AOM, 2011). ISOL, was a conference, originally co-designed by faculty from Delhi University and Regent University to explore the intersections of spirituality, leadership, and organizations. Since then, there have been two additional conferences culminating in the formation of the ISOL foundation. This Interdisciplinary.net conference with its focus on spirituality is yet another indicator of the topics importance and interest among a broad range of disciplines.

How is spirituality defined?


As with the term leadership, there seems to be a myriad of definitions for and conceptions of spirituality. Palmer (1998) remarked, Spirituality, like leadership, is a very hard concept to pin down. Leadership and spirituality are probably two of the vaguest words you can find in our language, and when you put them together you get something even more vague (p. 201). Then there is the challenge of trying to figure out distinctions between spirit, spirituality, and soul, for the terms are often used interchangeably. Mitroff and Denton (1999) proposed that soul refers to that which ties together and integrates all of the separate and various parts of a person. . . makes a person a human being (p. 5). Soul, according to Benefiel (2005) is the lived manifestation of spirituality in an individual (p. 9). The table below presents a thematic view of frequently occurring words used to describe spirituality: Theme Journey Descriptors Search for meaning; quest; personal journey; search for fullest development; search for truth; rediscovering self; Spiritual quest is a dynamic process where people purposefully seek to discover their higher power or being; inward journey; quest through uncharted territory; personal process occurring over time; interior; Source Ashmos & Duchon, 2000, p. 135; Benefiel, 2005, p. 733; Bolman & Deal, 2001, pp. 30, 31; Delbecq, 1999, p. 345; Fry, 2003, p. 705; Gull & Doh, 2004, p. 130; Longbotham & Lee, 2007, p. 2

Draft February 06, 2011 transformation awakening, transition, recovery, dark night, dawn Experience Feeling the sacredness of the moment; process of dialogue with other; inner experience of a sense of the beyond; inner experience; certain phenomenological states; enriching; experience of transcendence; transformation; renewal; transcendence; communion with the divine; experience of discovery 236; Melina, 2007, p. 433; Vaill, 1996, p. 180; Vaill, 1998, p. 178 Ashmos & Duchon, 2000, p. 135; Conger, 1994, p. 10; Delbecq, 1999, p. 345; Gardner, 2000, p. 29; Gull & Doh, 2004, p. 134; Klenke, 2005, p. 169; Krahnke, Giacalone, & Jurkiewicz, 2003, p. 397; Lewis & Geroy, 2000, p. 684; Melina, 2007, p. 433; Vaill, 1996, p. 180 Banks & Ledbetter, 2004, p. 63; Bolman & Deal, 2001, p. 9; Conger, 1994, p. 10; Delbecq, 1999, p. 345; Fairholm, 2011, pp. 196; 197; Fleming, 2007, pp. 167, 168; Fry, 2003, p. 705; Howard, 2002, p. 232; Longbothom & Lee, 2007, p. 236; Martsolf & Mickley, 1998, p. 294; Mitroff & Denton, 1999, p. 22; Singh-Sengupta, 2007, p. 13; Vaill, 1996, p. 180 Ashmos & Duchon, 2000, p. 135; Burack, 1999, p. 280; Delbecq, 1999, p. 345; Fairholm, 2011, p. 196; Gull & Doh, 2004, p. 130; Howard, 2002, p. 231; Klenke, 2005, p. 169; Krahnke, Giacalone, & Jurkiewicz, 2003, p. 397; Krishnakumar & Neck, 2002, pp. 154, 156; Longbothom & Lee, 2007, p. 236; Martsolf & Mickley, 1998, p. 294Mitroff & Denton, 1999, pp. 22, 24; Senge, 1990, pp. 141, 142; SinghSengupta, 2007, pp. 11, 13; Vaill, 1998, p. 28 Ashmos & Duchon, 2000, p. 135; Banks & Ledbetter, 2004, p. 63; Benefiel, 2005, p. 9; Bolman & Deal, 2003, p. 396; Fairholm, 2011, pp. 196; 197; Gull & Doh, 2004, p. 130; Lips-Wiersma & Mills, 2002, p. 183; Longbotham & Lee, 2007, p. 236; Martsolf & Mickley, 1998, p. 294; Mitroff & 3

Life force

Vital, energizing force or principle; higher power or divinity; God; sense of transcendence; the transcendent; all embracing; something greater than oneself; transcendent mystery; relationship with a higher power; supreme power, a being, a force, that governs the entire universe; belief in transcendent; a dimension beyond self

Connection

Belong; Sense of Belonging Vision of an order and a moral scheme that lies outside our material existence; bound to a higher reality; coherence to human existence; feeling connected; sense of connection; sense of belonging to a great whole; the spirit that we each are; pattern of events; collective force; connected to others; sense of being connected; unseen order of things; something sacred in existence; everything is interconnected; sacredness of everything; connection with self, others, God, higher power and the environment

Identity

Essence of who we are; defines inner self including physical and intellectual selves; core of energized self; what makes us human; inner person or being, soul, or spirit; fully engaged; animating force; immaterial essence; bedrock sense of identity; meaningfulness of work and life; affects the way a person sees themselves; spiritual beings; integral to who you are; about identity; an unfolding of life that demands reflection; a sense of who one is and how one knows

Draft February 06, 2011 Denton, 1999, p. 5 Benefiel, 2005, p. 49; Fairholm, 2011, p. 196; Kourie, 2006, p. 26; Melina, 2007, p. 433; Mitroff & Denton, 1999, p. xv Banks & Ledbetter, 2004, p. 63; Bolman & Deal, 2001, p. 6; Fairholm, 2011, p. 196; Klenke, 2005, p. 169; Kourie, 2006, p. 23; Martsolf & Mickley, 1998, p. 294; Mitroff & Denton, 1999, pp. 22, 24; Senge, 1990, pp. 141, 142; Vaill, 1996, p. 180 Athreya, 2007, p. 41; Benefiel, 2005, p. 9; Fleming, 2007, pp. 167, 168; Senge, 1990, pp. 141, 142 Banks & Ledbetter, 2004, p. 63; Bolman & Deal, 2001, p. 6; Fairholm, 2011, p. 196; Fleming, 2007, pp. 167, 168; Gull & Doh, 2004, p. 130; Klenke, 2005, p. 169; Kourie, 2006, p. 23; Krahnke, Giacalone, & Jurkiewicz, 2003, p. 397; Longbothom & Lee, 2007, p. 236; Melina, 2007, p. 433; Mitroff & Denton, 1999, pp. 22, 24; Senge, 1990, pp. 141, 142; Winston, 2007, p. 49 Autry, 1998, pp. 312, 313; Bolman & Deal, 2003, p. 396; Fairholm, 2011, p. 197; Mitroff & Denton, 1999, p. 26; Pruzan & Polit, 2007, pp. 159, 160 Banks & Ledbetter, 2004, p. 63; Fairholm, 2011, pp. 196; 197; Fry, 2003, p. 705; Lewis & Geroy, 2000, p. 684; Mitroff & Denton, 1999; Pruzan & Polit, 2007, pp. 159, 160

Wholeness

Life and work; integration; wholeness

Meaning/ Purpose

Gives meaning; Defines meaning; source of principle meaning; living in depth; meaning, purpose, and a sense of contribution to the greater community; sense of purpose; there is a purpose for everything and everyone

Self Awareness

Personal Mastery; yearning for personal development and evolution; consciousness; self mastery

Feelings or Qualities

Ultimate Values; core values Feelings: harmony; love, trust, working in partnership toward a common end; service; respect inherent value in all things; integrity; authenticity; genuineness; compassion; joy; security; completeness, hope; awe; in the presence of transcendent; inner peace, calm; optimism; conviction, courage Qualities: Essential-ness; care, stewardship, deeply inquisitive; kindness, communication, exemplar, vision

Faith/ Certitude

Source of certainty in an uncertain world; deep confidence about who we are, what we care about, and what we believe in; meaning in everyday things; spiritually grounded; faith and willpower Motivates individual action; enables human action; Enables people to transcend their normal selves; a decision to search beyond; attempt to harmonize with the beyond; spiritual perspective constitutes the context for action the world; affects how one operates in the world; spiritual perspective constitutes context for action; actions of a person and the effects those actions have on others

Action

A proposed definition:

Draft February 06, 2011 Spirituality is an experience and awareness of a Higher Power, a sense of inter-connectedness between and responsibility to self, other, the planet, and the Higher Power. These fundamental beliefs about reality constitute an integrated foundation upon which individuals or groups view the world, derive purpose and meaning, and experience certitude. Our values, qualities, motivations, and actions derive from our spirituality. Spiritual formation, a goal of which is self awareness and a movement toward authenticity, is an ongoing journey. Spiritual people have a strong sense of self and purpose and a deep understanding of their situatedness. Ones sense of self is influenced greatly by held fundamental beliefs and are continually fostered and renewed through an ongoing spiritual journey. Rather than rely solely on objective data from which to draw conclusions, people gather from spiritual experiences in whatever form they might take. People experience destiny tied to their fundamental beliefs, destiny provides a rationale or explanation for lifes happenings. A sense of responsibility to self, others, and the planet are more akin to moral obligations they are so integral to beliefs about the nature of identity and inter-connectedness of all things. Authenticity is found through persistent self awareness, striving to be responsible and do right, and seeking truth and speaking about it. Fundamental beliefs are lived out through being in the world. To deny knowledge of Being and our relation to it, is to live in-authentically and to risk losing the soul. Spiritual people have a multi-layered understanding of the relationship between the physical and metaphysical worlds. Respect, responsibility, taking the moral high road these are all characteristics of a person not expressing just head knowledge about certain facts but in terms of moral obligation. To violate any of these principally was to deny ones very nature and identity in relation to Being.

Research Findings
Many have spoken of the turn towards spirituality and attributed a variety of reasons for why it would garner the attention of leadership studies. Some mentioned reasons: (a) Globalization in all sectors; (b) Increasing conflict; (c) Declines in resources and the environment; (d)pragmatic business needs such as increased competition, productivity, efficiency, worker retention and diversity, and (e) a response to ethical business failures. The changing global environment brought about in part due to changes in business patterns and the adoption of technology worldwide influences how we live and interact. I routinely communicate with friends all over the world using technologies such as Skype, Facebook, and electronic mail. 24/7 news coverage makes it possible to hear of conflict around the world and to follow it in real time. Add to our awareness of conflict, reports about declining or affected resources (such as oil, water, and foodways) due to a myriad of factors in concert with discussions about climate change and its long terms effects. For-profit businesses have pragmatic business concerns for profit, productivity, efficiency, worker retention, and diversity. A large number of ethical failures, the financial crisis, and the housing market collapse along with the aforementioned reasons contributed and continue to contribute to a season of questioning. Vaill (1996) used the term permanent white water when describing: a felt lack of continuity, a felt lack of direction, absence of a sense of progress, absence of a feeling of cumulative achievement, a lack of coherence, a feeling of meaninglessness, and a lack of control (Vaill, 1996, p. 178). Further, Vaill, noted that in turbulent times, people turn to transcendent sources of meaning (p. 178). I was surprised at the number of references within the literature to What good will it be for a [person] if he[/she] gains the whole world, yet forfeits his[/her] soul? (NIV, Matthew 16:26). I recall a conversation around the coffee pot at a conference in the latter part of 2008 where the general tone was something is very wrong when we have well-educated leaders with no spiritual center, no regard for anything beyond self-interest, personal acquisition and attainment. At this years ILA conference, there were a number of keynote speakers and workshops where the presenters discussed the 5

Draft February 06, 2011 imperative for whole person leadership, the integration of spirituality or faith and leadership, and the conduct of business balancing business goals and objectives with concern for people, social context, and the environment. Business as usual focused solely on profits often at the expense of has created an environment of openness and questioning, a turn, if you will towards spirituality as a source of hope. Numerous studies have been conducted to explore workplace spirituality, a few focused specifically on leadership. A summary of findings related to individual, organizations, and spiritual leadership is presented. Individuals Organizations need people. It sounds like an obvious statement, yet, the impact of the industrial revolution was a tendency towards mechanization, efficiency, and overall productivity with the net effect of employees being viewed as cogs in the system. Some of the net effects to employees include low morale, demoralization, high turnover, burnout, frequent stress related illness, and rising absenteeism (Ashmos & Duchon, 2000, p. 134; Garcia-Zamor, 2003, p. 355). These effects come at time when workers are spending more and more time at work (Conger, 1994, p. 1; Krishnakumar & Neck, 2002, p. 153). A number of research studies have been conducted exploring workplace spirituality and its overall impact/effect on employees. Studies find several possible benefits: Possible Benefit Sense of community Source Ashmos & Duchon, 2000, pp. 134, 135; Autry, 1998, pp. 312, 313; Conger, 1994, p. 3; Duchon & Plowman, 2005, p. 814; Milliman, Czaplewski, & Ferguson, 2003, pp. 429, 441; Rego, Cuhal, & Souto, 2007, p. 316 Sense of challenge Fry, Matherly, Whittington, & Winston, 2007, p. 71 Meaningfulness Ashmos & Duchon, 2000, p. 136; Duchon & Plowman, 2005, p. 812; 814; Fry, Matherly, Whittington, & Winston, 2007, p. 71; Gull & Doh, 2004, p. 130; Milliman, Czaplewski, & Ferguson, 2003, pp. 429, 441; Rego, Cuhal, & Souto, 2007, p. 316 Sense of connectedness Ashmos & Duchon, 2000, p. 135; Autry, 1998, pp. 312, 313; Gull & Duh, 2004, p. 134 Joy; enjoyment of work; fulfillment Krishnakumar & Neck, 2002, p. 153; Rego, Cuhal, & Souto, 2007, p. 316 Alignment of personal with Duchon & Plowman, 2005, p. 811; Kouzes & Posner, 2002, p. 51; organizational values Milliman, Czaplewski, & Ferguson, 2003, pp. 429, 441; Rego, Cuhal, & Souto, 2007, p. 316 Increased overall well being Krahnke, Giacalone, & Jurkiewicz, 2003, p. 397 including physical and mental health, personal growth and sense of self worth People want to bring their whole person to work and perform interesting, meaningful work that augments their sense of purpose, and provides a sense of community with others and a connection to the organization purpose, goals, and objectives. In those organizations where spirituality was fostered and/or spiritual leadership was in practice, positive benefits were realized. Organization/Workplace

Draft February 06, 2011 The prevailing organizational view has been that of competition, profit, and productivity. Somewhere along the line, bottom line focus and an ethic of care beyond that bottom line became oppositional whereas human, social, and environmental impacts were deemed outside the bounds of organization priorities. According to Wheatley (2005): We have squashed and ignored spiritual questions in the workplace leading us to an engineering image, ignoring the deep realities of human existence (p. 19). The importance of this is as Palmer (1999) reminded us: We become cogs in a machine when our action does not flow from a deep sense of who we are and what we want to do (p. 39). The trend towards workplace spirituality re-orients and re-frames organizational concerns. This re-orientation is not without criticism or concern that spirituality is a fad only in favor due to its positive impacts or that leaders have impure motives and no real concern for human welfare. These are valid concerns and criticisms. The table below summarizes the positive benefits found in various research studies: Possible Benefits More hospitable work environment and job satisfaction Increased capacity to attract, keep, and motivate workers Fosters organizational commitment of employees Increased employee motivation Increases productivity and overall performance Increased employee commitment Increased honesty and trust Increased capacity to address diversity issues particularly incongruent value systems. Although, Lewis and Geroy (2000) noted: Most of the literature does not embrace the concept of defining spirituality as a diversity issue Source Burack, 1999, p. 180; Milliman, Czaplewski, & Ferguson, 2003, pp. 429, 441 Fry, Matherly, Whittington, & Winston, 2007, p. 71 Fry, 2003, p. 694; Kouzes & Posner, 2002, p. 51; Krishnakumar & Neck, 2002, p. 153; Milliman, Czaplewski, & Ferguson, 2003, pp. 429, 441 Duchon & Plowman, 2005, p. 811 Ashmos & Duchon, 2000, 134; Burack, 1999, p. 180; Fairholm, 2011, p. 161; Fry, 2003, p. 694 Rego, Cuhal, & Souto, 2007, p. 316 Krishnakumar & Neck, 2002, p. 153 Lewis & Geroy, 2000, pp. 683, 684

Research shows that (a) a recognition of inner life, meaningful work, and community in the workplace contribute to organizational performance; (b) positive relationships among the qualities of spiritual leadership and organizational productivity and commitment; (c)an increased physical and mental health of employees, advanced personal growth, and enhanced sense of self worth; (d) a relationship between spirituality dimensions and organization commitment, an individual intention to quit, intrinsic work satisfaction, job involvement, and organization based self esteem; (e) sustained purpose, culture, and identity can transcend and enhance an organizations performance and success; and (f) workplace spirituality is a framework of organizational values evidenced in the culture that promote employees experience of transcendence. . . facilitating their sense of being connected to others in a way that provides feelings of completeness and joy (Krahnke, Giacalone, & Jurkiewicz, 2003, p. 397). Spiritual Leadership

Draft February 06, 2011 Spiritual leadership is described as the type of leadership necessary to meet the challenges of today. Fairholm (2011) argued that the nature of the new workplace demands spiritual leadership (p. 157). A number of studies examined the proposed benefits of spiritual leadership within organizations. In an extensive meta-analysis of 150 studies exploring spirituality and leadership, Reave (2005) established a consistency between differing spiritual teachings and leaders values and practices contributing to overall leadership effectiveness in motivating employees, creating a positive ethical climate, inspiring trust, promoting positive work relationships, and achieving organizational goals. Leaders also achieved organizational goals such as increased productivity, lowered rates of turnover, greater sustainability, and improved employee health (p. 656). Reave chronicled a number of findings related to the value of examining spirituality in leadership; spirituality as the source of motivation and work as calling; the relationship of spiritual values and leadership success; and spiritual practices related to leader effectiveness. Value of examining spirituality in leadership Universal spiritual values and leadership effectiveness evaluate practices in relation to professed values Spirituality as a causal factor in leader effectiveness Spirituality as the source of motivation: work as a calling Work as calling: the source of leader motivation Work as calling: the source of follower motivation Spiritual values and leadership success Integrity as the most crucial spiritual value for leader success Integrity and follower trust Integrity and ethical influence Honest communication with self and others Humility as related to leadership success Humility versus charisma humble leaders are more effective Spiritual practices related to leader effectiveness Demonstrating respect for others values Treating others fairly Expressing and concern Listening responsively Appreciating the contributions of others Engaging in reflective practice Fairholm (2011) found that spiritual leaders ensure others feel engaged, foster integrity, promote a sense of connection and community, are sensitive to stakeholders, and fosters unity in a culturally diverse work force (pp. 160-162) Hicks (2003)emphasized the need to unite people around diverse spiritual values (p. 51). Employees become happier, are more committed to work, and develop a stronger sense of calling, when around spiritual leadership characterized by promotion of self-determination and personal development, appreciation shown and confidence in employeess (Rego, Cunha, & Olivereira, 2007, p. 97). Additional qualities include courage, open minded, fostering positive interpersonal relationships and a sense of community, kindness, compassionate, loyal and respectful.

Draft February 06, 2011 Identified character traits included: Trustworthy, loyal, love, hope, forgiveness, acceptance, gratitude, integrity, honest; courage; humility; kindness; empathy, compassion, patience, meekness, endurance, excellence, peace, altruism, self transcendent, self sacrificing, fun, inspirational, caring, considerate, (Fairholm, 2011, p. 162; Fleming, 2007, p. 172; Fry, Matherly, Whittington, & Winston, 2007, p. 73; Klenke, 2007, p. 526; Lewis & Geroy, 2000, p. 692)

Observations
Based on a review of the leadership studies literature, the following assumptions are made about the nature of spirituality: No clear, concise definition of spirituality exists. I questioned in my own mind whether the existence or clarity of a definition matters, the so what question. Is it perhaps that leadership scholars perceive there is general consensus about what the term means and therefore it is unnecessary to define it overtly? Spirituality and religion are not the same. One can be spiritual without being religious. Clearly within the literature there is a strong distinction between spirituality and religion. Generally there is a recognized connection between spirituality and religion but spirituality is considered a broader term. Historically, organizations have typically been considered a secular sphere (Hicks, 2003, p. 22). Note the marked difference in the terms used to describe the two: Spirituality Personal Emotional Adaptable Inclusive Tolerant Religion Institutional Dogmatic Rigid Exclusive Legalistic

Positive and negative perceptions of spirituality and religion contribute to a strong mantra within leadership studies literature that spirituality unites but religion divides (Hicks, p. 48). Mitroff and Denton (1999) found that people are afraid to use words associated with spirituality due to concerns of appropriateness, yet, are hungry for models of practicing spirituality in the workplace without offending their coworkers or causing acrimony (p. xvi). Rationale for not incorporating spirituality or religion in the workplace include arguments for separation of church and state, the legality of religion within workplaces, a desire to be value-free, and the deeply embedded mantra of spirituality unites but religion divides. This split is problematic on multiple levels, for it: (a) perpetuates a myth of value-free neutrality that is illogical, impossible, and unsustainable; (b) denies and/or diminishes the whole person, their phenomenological reality, along with the sense of purpose and meaning they derive from spirituality or religion; (c) potentially biases ways of knowing toward objectivity at the expense of subjective knowledge particularly revelatory; and (d) may be more divisive than unifying given the possibility for reinforcing hierarchical, binary, and oppositional thinking. Some questions: (a) What is the distinction and/or boundary between spirituality and religious behaviors? (b) How do reconcile the emphasis on whole person leadership with this distinction? (c) What practices and/or organizational approaches might support a respectful environment with regard to spirituality and/or religion?

Draft February 06, 2011 Spirituality is inherently human. As defined, spirituality constitutes a separate thing from intellect, emotions, and physical being. Whether acknowledged or not, spirituality is always present. An individuals spirituality is deeply personal and private. A person has an awareness of a Higher Power or something outside oneself along with a belief in the interconnectedness between self, other, the Higher Power, and the planet. Ultimately spirituality is meaning making and knowledge construction. A persons identity is derived from his/her spirituality, sense of purpose, and meaning. Spiritual formation is a function of human intention. In the absence of intention, a person or organization can lose their soul or become disconnected from identity, sense of purpose, and meaning. The metaphor of a journey or a quest is often used to describe the ongoing process. Spiritual formation involves moving to a more authentic self. Spiritual experiences often feel different than other experiences. How do you measure spirituality or spiritual formation or leadership development? Ones values and actions are constituted from ones spirituality. A set of universal values are assumed (although not clear what those are). Yet, there is little discussion of ethics and morality in relation to spirituality or spiritual leadership. For example, authenticity is often mentioned. Is there an assumption of a movement toward the good? Is this a valid assumption given unethical leaders? Another question to address is what is spiritual about the values being discussed? Organizationally, collective spirituality can be co-created. This collective spirituality is often experienced as a sense of community and connection within organizations. A downside within the literature is the seeming bias towards organizational outcomes and indicators. There is little discussion of impact on peoples lives as a whole. Research indicates positive Individual and organizational benefits from spirituality in the workplace and spiritual leadership. It is unclear how the values described for leaders are unique (or if they are within spiritual leadership. Little or no research has been conducted about the spiritual or religious beliefs leaders may hold and how those beliefs may impact leader actions (Dent, Higgins, & Wharff, 2005, p. 642). How researchers define spirituality and design research projects is important. There currently is not comprehensive, integrated theory that explains spiritual formation or spiritual leadership. Researchers need to clearly understand and define the phenomena rather than the desired outcome (e.g., productivity, sense of community). Carefully evaluate how our own beliefs might influence our research question. Be aware of how our definitions of spirituality, religion, purpose of work and leadership are influenced by our own biases and assumptions.

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References
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