Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 78, Issue 4, pp 575–600

Philosophical Foundations of Workplace Spirituality: A Critical Approach


DOI: 10.1007/s10551-007-9369-5

Cite this article as:
Gotsis, G. & Kortezi, Z. J Bus Ethics (2008) 78: 575. doi:10.1007/s10551-007-9369-5


It is an undeniable reality that workplace spirituality has received growing attention during the last decade. This fact is attributable to many factors, socioeconomic, cultural and others [Hicks, D.A. 2003: Religion and the Workplace. Pluralism, Sprtituality, Leadership (Cambridge University press, Cambridge)]. However the field is full of obscurity and imprecision for the researcher, the practitioner, the organisational analyst and whoever attempts to systematically approach this relatively new inquiry field. This article attempts to provide a critical review of the literature on workplace spirituality by examining the underlying rationale of the main trends regarding spirit at Work and by negotiating their strengths and weaknesses. Current approaches to workplace spirituality are distinguished to the exploratory, contextual and the consequential, acontextual ones. Particular attention is given to ‚Respectful Pluralism’ proposed by Douglas Hicks, as it is suggested that this theoretical framework is the most well-founded, elaborated and systematic up to date. However, it is proposed that even ‚Respectful Pluralism’ fails to fully capture the complexity of such a multidimensional phenomenon as spirituality. Drawing on mainstream ethical and philosophical traditions (deontology, utilitarianism, virtue ethics) supporting alternative value-systems, it is suggested that a more inclusive and philosophically affluent framework needs to be developed. Finally, some propositions and thoughts are made towards this direction.


consequential approaches contextual models deontology organisational positive outcomes respectful pluralism workplace spirituality utilitarianism virtue ethics 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.History and Philosophy of ScienceUniversity of AthensAthensGreece

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