The role of spirituality in ethical decision-making and behaviour and the benefits to organisations: a critical realist analysis

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dc.contributor.advisor MacDonald, R en
dc.contributor.advisor Wolfgramm, R en McGhee, Peter en 2015-05-07T21:07:28Z en 2015 en
dc.identifier.citation 2015 en
dc.identifier.uri en
dc.description.abstract In the last three decades, there has been a shift towards embracing spirituality in the workplace (hereafter SWP). This shift is, at least in part, a response to several sociocultural and demographic changes in Western society combined with a growing distaste among many for the morally questionable actions of numerous organisations. The consequence of this movement is a plethora of literature extolling the benefits of individuals exercising their spirituality at work. Indeed, research has found that spirituality enhances various constructs such as organisational commitment, job satisfaction, teamwork, creativity, organisational-based self-esteem and so on. Much of this writing also promulgates the idea that spiritual individuals are moral and therefore, are valuable ethical assets to any organisation. However, there has been negligible research verifying this claim. This study investigated how spirituality influences ethical decision-making and behaviour in work-related contexts. Following a critical realist methodology, which allows for the exploration of underlying mechanisms such as spirituality using multiple methods, this research consisted of two phases. The extensive (quantitative) phase, which surveyed 321 people from four organisations using various measurement scales, determined what spirituality was, how it differed from religion and how it positively related to respondents’ moral judgement and their likelihood of behaving ethically. While valuable in furnishing a broad picture of the sample, such an approach was unable to contextualise spirituality in real-life situations. To do this required an intensive (qualitative) research phase using semi-structured interviews of 31 highly spiritual cases taken from the survey. Thematic analysis of 80 critical ethical incidents found five global themes that represented how participants enacted their spirituality to be ethical in their organisations. In summary, participants’ other-oriented consciousness enabled them to act in ways that transcended their organisational conditions in order to be authentic to their spirituality. When participants reported doing this, they felt increased well-being; when they were unable to enact their spirituality, they suffered a variety of negative feelings. Additional questions asking about the value of SWP were also thematically analysed and two global themes emerged which supported these earlier findings. In conclusion, this research demonstrates that spiritual individuals are of significant ethical benefit to their workplaces. Not only are they likely to make more ethical judgements and act accordingly, they are also more likely to overcome work contexts that inhibit moral praxis and diminish long-term sustainability while ultimately influencing the culture of the organisation for the better. en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof PhD Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.relation.isreferencedby UoA99264773710802091 en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
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dc.title The role of spirituality in ethical decision-making and behaviour and the benefits to organisations: a critical realist analysis en
dc.type Thesis en Management and International Business en The University of Auckland en Doctoral en PhD en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The Author en
dc.rights.accessrights en
pubs.elements-id 486907 en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2015-05-08 en

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