Connecting the Individual and Cultural Level Value Analysis 157

Individual Spirituality at Work and Its Relationship with Job Satisfaction, Propensity to Leave and Job Commitment: An Exploratory Study among Sales Professionals
VAIBHAV CHAWLA∗ SRIDHAR GUDA∗

Spirituality is a hot topic of research in recent times in management arena. Though the organizational researchers have intensely started exploring this area, the studies related to selling organizations are few, and fewer are the studies related to selling organizations with individual (sales professional) as the unit of theory. The present study explores the relationship between ‘individual spirituality at work’ and sales professionals’ ‘job satisfaction’, ‘propensity to leave’ and ‘job commitment’. This work focuses on sales professionals across various industries. A cross-sectional survey method is adopted. Correlation analysis is done to reveal the hypothesized relationships. The results reveal that sales professionals’ spirituality at work is positively related to job satisfaction and job commitment, and negatively related to propensity to leave. The results provide the relevance of spirituality at work to salespeople. The selling organizations can also utilize the information and promote the individual expression of spirituality at work. Keywords: spirituality, sales, sales professional, job satisfaction, job commitment, propensity to leave

*The authors dedicate this research endeavor to Lord Shri Shirdi Sai Maharaj. Vaibhav Chawla is a Fellow Program (Doctoral) Student in the Marketing Area at Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode (IIMK), Kunnamangalam, Kozhikode, Kerala 673570. E-mail: vaibhav01fpm@iimk.ac.in Sridhar Guda is Assistant Professor (Marketing Area) at Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode (IIMK), Kunnamangalam, Kozhikode, Kerala 673570. E-mail: drgsridhar@iimk.ac.in

JOURNAL OF HUMAN VALUES 16:2 (2010): 157–167 SAGE Publications Los Angeles/London/New Delhi/Singapore/Washington DC DOI: 10.1177/097168581001600203

JOURNAL OF HUMAN VALUES 15:2 (2009): 107–118

prayer to make them feel better about themselves. yoga for healthy and disease-free life. layoffs. Cohen (1997) notes that around 40 per cent of the audience attending spiritual conventions describe themselves as sales professionals. Porter. Babakus. Some of the sales professionals practice meditation. i. 425). This article takes an opportunity to contribute to the growing literature on the topic.158 VAIBHAV CHAWLA AND SRIDHAR GUDA Introduction There is a growing interest among corporate. The benefits of workplace spirituality are many. 2003). Purshartaa for the balance between personal and professional life. The results reveal the relevance of spirituality at work to salespeople. 2007). ‘propensity to leave’ and ‘job commitment’. Research on the topic of ‘Workplace Spirituality’ is still in its early stages. A cross-sectional survey method is adopted. The complexity of the sales profession is further increased by the work environment operating under the pressures of globalization. Research has shown that organizations that provide their employees with the opportunities for spiritual development are better in performance than others (Konz & Ryan. Literature Review Spirit and Spirituality Indian sacred scriptures have examples of personalities who have attained oneness with the other beings and the universe.. Objective of the Article The present study explores the relationship between individual (sales professional) ‘spirituality at work’ and sales professionals’ ‘job satisfaction’. Kraft & Claycomb. Thus.). The word ‘spirit’ comes from the Latin JOURNAL OF HUMAN VALUES 16:2 (2010): 157–167 . ‘The demanding nature of the sales profession coupled with the decline in the traditional forms of community indicate that salespersons may strive for both meaning and a sense of community at work’ (ibid. spirituality has a role to play in selling organizations. 2008). The sample consists of 101 sales professionals across a number of different industries. 1997. Cohen (1997) through the interviews finds that sales professionals who have a spiritual mindset show greater performance and are satisfied with their jobs. Why Study ‘Workplace Spirituality’ in Selling Organizations? The sales profession is characterized by high degree of job-related stress (Moncrief. Sales professionals’ do-anything-for-business mentality has been replaced by a search for self and inner peace (ibid. which have their roots in Indian ethos for the spiritual upliftment of an organization.). spirituality at work provides job satisfaction and reduces employee burnout as found in the case of health care professionals (Komala & Ganesh.1 At an individual level. Cravens & Johnson. terrorism and suspect organizational values (Badrinarayanan & Madhavaram. 1999). p. These people have gone to the highest ladder of human evolution. academicians and researchers towards the topic of spirituality in the workplace. downsizing. Spirituality in the workplace relates to the bottom line of business. Zen Reading. etc. In India many a company follow the new-age principles (such as Meditation to attain inner calmness. spirituality.. Correlation analysis is done to reveal the hypothesized relationships.e.

Mirvis’ (1997) idea of workplace spirituality includes notions of community and meaningful work. This view is similar to the notion of inner life. body. the definitions are in plenty. 83) in their study on workplace spirituality find that the participants understand spirituality as ‘the basic feeling of being connected with one’s complete self. Nor does Spirit. Vedanta teaches that spirit is all pervading. 2005). The bulb in itself has no light.. They assert that ‘the definition and the dimensions utilized in this paper are parsimonious and explicit enough to assist in theory development’ (ibid.2 Workplace Spirituality One of the difficulties of doing research on the topic of ‘Workplace Spirituality’ is to provide a suitable working definition to it (Giacalone & Jurkiewicz.. Ashmos and Duchon’s (2000) definition comprises all the common themes: sense of community. and therefore. p. p. 425). Dhiman and King (2005) mention the aspects of inner power. interconnectedness with those involved in work process and sense of purpose in work environment in their definition. Spirit is the life force or power. 134) Identifying oneself with the spirit is Spirituality. others. But when electricity contacts the bulb there is a brilliant expression of life. Giacalone and Jurkiewicz’s (2003) definition includes the aspects similar to the meaningful work and connection to others. Three common themes appearing from the definitions as shown in Table 1 are the following: sense of community. Mitroff. This definition is also utilized by Badrinarayanan and Madhavaram (2008) in the only conceptual study on workplace spirituality in selling organization context. Beyer (1999) mentions that meaning in work and belongingness to community nourishes the inner life of individuals and provides their work a spiritual dimension. p. and the entire universe’. Similarly.3 Fry (2003) includes the notions of calling and membership which is similar to meaning and sense of community (Duchon & Plowman. argues that ‘[a]n obsession with finding JOURNAL OF HUMAN VALUES 16:2 (2010): 157–167 . Czaplewski and Ferguson (2003) include the aspects of the sense of community and meaningful work in workplace spirituality. mind and intellect have no life inherent in them.Individual Spirituality at Work 159 word Spiritus meaning breath—breath of life. They define ‘Spirituality at Work’ as ‘the recognition that employees have an inner life that nourishes and is nourished by meaningful work that takes place in the context of community’ (ibid. meaningful work and inner self. Owing to the subjective nature of workplace spirituality. 13). and spiritual connection (inner life). as quoted in Dean’s article (2004. Nor does electricity. Krishnan (2008) conceptualized spirituality as oneness with all other beings. sense of community. Mitroff and Denton (1999. Marques. Milliman. Parthasarathy in his book titled Vedanta Treatise says the following: Spirit is related to body–mind–intellect just as electricity is to an electric bulb. Kinjerski and Skrypnek’s (2006) conceptualization of individual spirituality at work has three of the four dimensions as follows: engaging work (meaningful work). 137). p. 2003). But when Spirit combines with body–mind–intellect there is a scintillating expression of life. p. meaningful work and inner life. (2002. The most prominent feature of spirituality is oneness with all beings in the universe.

The scale for workplace spirituality consists of three levels of measures: individual. Czaplewski and Ferguson (2003) Fry (2003) Giacalone and Jurkiewicz (2003) Marques. an inner life). The firstlevel measure consists of items which denote the JOURNAL OF HUMAN VALUES 16:2 (2010): 157–167 Meaningful Work The second component of workplace spirituality embodies the notion that people seek meaning at work (Duchon and Plowman. 2005. 2008). work unit and organization. Sense of Community and a few others Inner Life. Meaning at work is the feeling of wholeness and harmoniousness with some animating (higher) purpose that gives direction to one’s work (Overell. though there may be other ways to conceptualize the construct of ‘Workplace Spirituality’. Meaningful Work. Dhiman and King (2005) Beyer (1999) Kinjerski and Skrypnek (2006) Ashmos and Duchon (2000) Dimensions of Workplace Spirituality Meaning in Work and Sense of Community Spiritual Identity (Inner Life) Meaningful Work and Sense of Community Notion of Calling Similar to Meaningful Work.e. and Sense of Community Inner Power. 2008). Meaningful Work and Sense of Community Source: Developed by the authors on the basis of published literature. and these needs don’t get left at home when they come to work’ (Duchon & Plowman. Meaningful Work. Sense of Community and Mystical experience Inner Life. . 2005). and Membership Similar to Sense of Community Transcendence through Work Process Similar to Meaningful Work.160 VAIBHAV CHAWLA AND SRIDHAR GUDA Table 1 Common Themes among Definitions of Workplace Spirituality Author Name with Year of Publication Mirvis (1997) Mitroff and Denton (1999) Milliman. Inner Life (Inner Self) Inner self refers to the viewpoint that ‘employees have spiritual needs (i. We will use the first-level measure for this article. p.. 811). Hence. Defining Individual Spirituality at Work Individual spirituality at work is about expressing one’s inner self through meaningful work and belongingness to the community at work. overarching definition of workplace spirituality does not respect the myriad traditions and belief systems embedded in our research arena’. a single correct. just as they have physical. we proceed with the definition provided by Ashmos and Duchon (2000). meaningful work and sense of community. The inner self (spiritual identity) is about feeling oneness with others and the entire universe (Krishnan. employee perceptions of their individual spirituality at work. This definition is in accordance with Ashmos and Duchon’s (2000) conceptualization of workplace spirituality. The conceptualization of workplace spirituality consists of three components: inner life as spiritual identity. and cognitive needs. Meaningful Work and Sense of Community Spiritual Connection Similar to Inner Life. emotional.

Parasuraman. 2007). and to the others the letter is posted to their orkut (social networking website) profile requesting them to fill the survey. 2007. 2007. By sales professionals. Jaramillo et al. The respondents (sample) belonged to different industries. Null hypothesis 3: There is no relationship between sales professionals’ spirituality at work and propensity to leave. motivating and training their salespeople. Jaramillo. 1979). 2006).. company policy and feelings of job security (Churchill. 2005. we mean the people who are either working or have worked as sales executives or sales managers. The profile of the respondents is given in Table 2. The total number of sample responses is 101. Futrell & Black. and the sample is a convenient one. 2008). promotional programmes. All the respondents are sales professionals. including satisfaction with one’s job.S. Job Commitment Job commitment is defined as the extent to which a person psychologically identifies with or absorbed by their job (Lawler & Hall. Retention in selling organizations is a top concern as firms invest a lot in selecting. Hypotheses Null hypothesis 1: There is no relationship between sales professionals’ spirituality at work and job satisfaction. Job satisfaction lowers the turnover intentions of salesperson (Chakrabarty et al. supervisor. Propensity to leave is an effective predictor of actual turnover in organizations (Johnston. Ford & Walker. 1982). co-workers. Methodology Design and Sampling Internet-based survey questionnaire is used to get the responses. 2006. 2007) and also increases organizational commitment (Chakrabarty et al. Pettijohn & Taylor. 814). A request letter with the survey link is e-mailed to some of the respondents. are willing to make sacrifices and are less likely to leave the organization (Bashaw & Grant. 1970). Committed salespeople display greater performance. JOURNAL OF HUMAN VALUES 16:2 (2010): 157–167 Propensity to Leave Propensity to leave is the likelihood that an employee will voluntarily end their relationship with their employer in the near future (Bluedorn.. Sense of Community The third dimension is based on the idea that spiritual beings live in connection to other human beings and here community refers to ‘the notions of sharing. L. Pettijohn. Jaramillo & Marshall.E. Thus. 1994. mutual obligation and commitment that connect people to each other’ (Duchon & Plowman. Null hypothesis 2: There is no relationship between Individual spirituality at work and job commitment. Mulki. C. organizations need to pay importance to salesperson’s job satisfaction because of its strong associations with other critical outcomes. Job Satisfaction Job satisfaction is a multidimensional construct.. .Individual Spirituality at Work 161 Meaning relates to whether purpose and significance is felt (Overell. 1990). payment conditions. Mulki & Solomon. p.

These items assess satisfaction with seven specific aspects of the job: pay. The items from each variable along with their corresponding JOURNAL OF HUMAN VALUES 16:2 (2010): 157–167 Individual Spirituality at Work The Meaning and Purpose at Work Questionnaire developed by Ashmos and Duchon (2000) consists of three levels of measures: individual.7) (26. individual spirituality at work.0) Job Commitment Job commitment is measured using three items from the scale provided by Lodahl and Kejner (1965). boss. The reliability of the scales is provided in Table 4.0) 15 56 18 8 1 3 30 27 29 8 7 44 43 4 4 1 5 (14.’ with response options ranging from 1 for very likely to 7 for very unlikely. job satisfaction.4) (7. fellow workers and overall satisfaction.4) (17. Job satisfaction is measured using seven selected items from the original 26-item scale provided by Churchill et al. company policies. are used in the study.1) 33 58 8 2 (32.7) (7.8) (7. The individual measure .0) (29.0) descriptive statistics are shown in Table 3. Measures Four measures. ‘Taking everything into consideration.9) (2. how likely is it that you will make a genuine effort to find a new job with another employer within the next year?.7) (57.4 Source: Developed by the authors using data from the respondents.9) (55. Propensity to Leave Propensity to leave was measured by a single item from Quinn and Staines (1979) that asks.0) (5.4) 98 (97) 3 (3.9) 89 (88. The response options for the items range from 1 for strongly dissatisfied to 7 for strongly satisfied. namely. opportunities for advancement.7) (28.0) (4. The response options for the items range from 1 for strongly disagree to 7 for strongly agree.9) (43. Each variable is constructed by computing the mean of the items comprising the scale. (1979). job security. Job Satisfaction In this article.9) (6.162 VAIBHAV CHAWLA AND SRIDHAR GUDA Table 2 Profile of the Respondents Personal Details Education Undergraduate work Graduate or postgraduate Age 25 or less 26 to 35 36 to 45 46 to 55 Marital status Married Not Married Gender Male Female Total business experience 1 year or less 2 to 5 years 6 to 10 years 11 to 15 years 16 to 20 years 21 years or more Number of companies worked till date 1 2 3 4 5 or more Years with the current firm 1 year or less 2 to 5 years 6 to 10 years 11 to 15 years 16 to 20 years 21 years or more Frequency (%) 12 (11.0) (3.9) (1.6) (4.6) 61 (60.6) (42. job commitment and propensity to leave. work unit and organizational. 40 (39.0) (1.

My supervisor overall. Propensity to Leave 1.59299 1.73148 1. 7. 4.4851 4. Company policies. I believe others experience joy as a result of my work.0198 4. 11. unit.44030 1.74538 1.23657 1.83621 Mean Std. I feel the most important things that happen to me involve my job. I look forward to coming to work most days. 3. My colleagues/workers overall.8911 4.8020 5.3564 1.. 4.30118 1. B.65422 1. 21.2772 6.Individual Spirituality at Work 163 Table 3 Measures Along with Its Items Used in the Study Item A. 3. My spirit is energized by my work. Inner life 17.2277 5.25280 1. 2.62469 1. I care about the spiritual health of my co-workers. At work we work together to resolve conflict in a positive way.75511 1.1881 1.4158 4. 14. I feel part of a community in my immediate workplace (department.67929 1. 13.53145 1.). how likely is that you will make a genuine effort to find a new job with another employer within the next year? Source: Developed by the authors using data from the respondents. Prayer is an important part of my life. 6.40762 1.2178 5. My compensation (salary).87627 1. I am valued at work for who I am. My supervisor encourages my personal growth. I experience joy in my work. Dev.84203 1. C.0198 5.76422 1. 2. 5. 12.83384 1. I see a connection between my work and the larger social good of my community.5050 5.4356 2. Opportunities for advancement.58733 1. I am encouraged to take risks at work. Job security. Taking everything into consideration.8317 5.3564 5. 20.8020 5.0297 5. I live. I am evaluated fairly here. I understand what gives my work personal meaning.2574 5. 8.2079 5. 19. 1. Overall Job satisfaction.0693 5.2574 5. I have had numerous experiences in my job which have resulted in personal growth. Job Commitment 1. 2. 18. 9.0000 5.68317 1.79228 1. When I have fears I am encouraged to discuss them.4455 6.10910 JOURNAL OF HUMAN VALUES 16:2 (2010): 157–167 . My spiritual values influence the choices I make. 5. eat. Meaningful work 10.69045 1.48731 1.5149 5. When I have a concern I represent it to the appropriate person. I feel the major satisfaction in life comes from my job. 16. 15.53868 1.2277 5. I consider myself a spiritual person.6337 4. 5.72919 1.0495 4.9406 4.69460 1. 5. and breathe my job.7426 4. etc. I feel hopeful about life. Job Satisfaction How satisfied are you with.2376 4. Meaning and Purpose at Work Scale (Workplace Spirituality at Individual Level) Sense of community 1.42627 3.30118 1.68082 1.. 7. 6. D. The work I do is connected to what I think is important in life.9010 5. 3.79228 1.7426 5.63780 1.

Given the sufficiently large negative value of the coefficient and the high significance of the Table 5 Correlation of Individual Spirituality at Work and Job Satisfaction Individual Spirituality at Work Individual Spirituality at Work Pearson correlation Sig. Hypothesis 2: The Pearson’s product moment correlation coefficient between individual spirituality at work and job commitment is 0. it implies that the null hypothesis is rejected. Coefficient Alpha Value 0.651∗ 0.000 101 1 101 Job Satisfaction Source: Developed by the authors using data from the respondents.651∗ 0.753 Number of Items 7 3 1 21 (Total) 9 7 5 captures individuals’ perception of their own spirituality at work.164 VAIBHAV CHAWLA AND SRIDHAR GUDA Table 4 Reliability Analysis Scale Name Job Satisfaction Job Commitment Propensity to Leave Meaning and Purpose at Work (Workplace Spirituality. Note: JOURNAL OF HUMAN VALUES 16:2 (2010): 157–167 . Table 5 shows the results. Given the very large positive value of the coefficient and the high significance of the correlation. Individual Items) Sense of Community Meaningful Work Inner Life Source: Developed by the authors using data from the respondents. (2-tailed) N Pearson correlation Sig.454 and the value is highly significant ( p < 0.388 and the value is highly significant (p < 0. Hypothesis 1: The Pearson’s product moment correlation coefficient between individual spirituality at work and job satisfaction is 0. ∗Correlation is significant at the 0.651 and the value is significant ( p < 0.799 — 0. Analysis and Results SPSS software (16.0) is used for the analysis.859 0.877 0. Table 6 shows the results.01). Hypothesis 3: The Pearson’s product moment correlation coefficient between Individual spirituality at work and propensity to leave is –0.01). (2-tailed) N 1 101 0. Given the high significance of the correlation and sufficiently large coefficient value.000 101 Job Satisfaction 0. it implies that the null hypothesis is rejected.01 level (2-tailed).01). We have used the individual level measure with three sub-scales for the study.883 0.844 0. The response options for the items of the subscales range from 1 for strongly disagree to 7 for strongly agree.

(2-tailed) N Pearson correlation Sig. there is an alignment between who one is and what one does.01 level (2-tailed). it implies that null hypothesis is rejected. Table 7 shows the results.454∗ 0. Note: correlation. the feelings of existing together in the community and when one is happy with the work then one may not intend to leave the job and the organization..01 level (2-tailed).388∗ 0. i.000 101 Propensity to Leave –0. (2-tailed) N 1 101 0.000 101 1 101 Job Commitment Source: Developed by the authors using data from the respondents. Thus. The sales professionals who align their self-concept to their spiritual identity (inner life) express their spiritual identity by meaningful work and by belongingness to the community. Researchers can also look into the relationship for sales professionals between their spirituality at work and job burnout. The result also provides that there is a strong negative relationship between sales professionals’ spirituality at work and his/her intentions to leave. one can develop the scale for meaning and purpose at work suitable specifically for the sales setting. For the future research. The new scale for sales setting will be useful to confirm the relationships hypothesized in the present study. ∗Correlation is significant at the 0. When there is belongingness.454∗ 0. Discussion Correlation analysis provides that there is a strong positive relationship between sales professionals’ spirituality at work and his/her job satisfaction. then there comes the satisfaction. we used a general setting scale for meaning and purpose scale at work.e. ∗Correlation is significant at the 0. The result comes as expected. The same reason holds true for the positive relationship between sales professionals’ spirituality at work and his/her commitment to the job.000 101 1 101 Propensity to Leave Source: Developed by the authors using data from the respondents.Individual Spirituality at Work 165 Table 6 Correlation of Individual Spirituality at Work and Job Commitment Individual Spirituality at Work Individual Spirituality at Work Pearson correlation Sig. (2-tailed) N 1 101 –0. Note: Table 7 Correlation of Individual Spirituality at Work and Propensity to Leave Individual Spirituality at Work Individual Spirituality at Work Pearson Correlation Sig. Since the nature of the present study is exploratory. JOURNAL OF HUMAN VALUES 16:2 (2010): 157–167 .000 101 Job Commitment 0.388∗ 0. (2-tailed) N Pearson Correlation Sig.

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