12 Spiritual Human Factors for Organisational Sustainability and Healthy Work Relationships

It is important to note that spiritual matter here is not about a religious, but a human centered view based on self-awareness, life purpose and community engagement.

These three aspects of spirituality are the predominant perspective in the literature of organizational changes. These organizational changes are defining new paradigms for work relationships and impacting work environments. Some of these new paradigms are related to work motivation and job satisfaction, which are highly connected to organizational sustainability. Therefore, we choose to investigate workplace spirituality inorder to move towards sustainability.

In fact, there are already some reviews about workplace spirituality, and the most cited one organizes the topic in three dimensions: first, the inner life dimension that remains in self-centered matters such as identity and values; second, the sense of purpose dimension that refers to work significance perception; and lastly, the sense of community dimension that remains in connection and engagement.

In this article, the chosen predominant perspective on workplace spirituality is to turn theoretical discussions into manageable human factors that are expressed by relationship needs at three levels: intrapersonal, interpersonal and institutional. With this new organization of the theme, we expect to support managers to perform actions focused on the type of relationship that is desired to be strengthened.

The scenario –

The technological evolution of work is being marked by a new wave of innovation and modernization in industry. The changes observed in productive systems have solved several problems; however, they have opened space to debate new issues, such as job satisfaction and work life quality due mostly to a stressful workday focused on productivity.

From the worker point of view, maintaining productivity requires a self-motivation effort that goes beyond financial rewards. In order to support employees in this motivational task, organizations are making efforts with different approaches. One of these approaches has been discussed in the organizational changes literature as workplace spirituality, which was defined 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”.

This analysis aimed to support these organizational efforts for sustainable operations by turning the recent theoretical discussion on workplace spirituality into manageable human factors expressed by relationship needs at three levels: intrapersonal, interpersonal and institutional.

Work place spirituality may refer to an individual’s attempts to live his/her own values more fully in the workplace or an organizational effort to support spiritual growth of their employees.

Variety of Spiritual Human Factors-

  Context Holistic Code
 1.… employees sharing and experiencing some common attachment …Shared tasks and goals
 2. … having a deep sense of purpose in one’s work or meaningful work … Meaning at work
 3.…having a deep connection to others or a sense of community… Connection to others 
 4. … experiencing a strong sense of alignment with the organization’s values …Alignment to organisation 
 5. … social identity linked to the organization …Linked self image 
 6.… able to provide a sense of joy … Joy at work 
 7. … allows high quality connections … Quality of work relationships
 8. … performing a particular task … that results in a betterment of self and others … Evolution of yourself and/or others
 9. … prizes creativity, cultivate inclusion, develops principles, and promotes vocation … Continuity of work
 10. … interdependence between the human being and the world where we live … Interdependence in life
 11. … fulfills important socio-emotional needs for workers … Attention to socio-emotional needs
12.… spirituality as oneness with all other beings …Coexistence and unity
13.… values that may guide the daily actions and decisions …Values that guide actions and decisions
14.… theory of humanocracy … if human needs within the organization are considered …Personality in work relationships
 15. … a sense of unity with the universe and the awareness of life force … Contemplation of life
 16. … bring their whole selves to work, through recognition and acceptance … Weaknesses and vulnerabilities acceptance
 17. … be engaged in matters of importance in a context larger than economic matters … Engagement in community
18.… deity as the forces of nature … deity as humanity …Humanity and nature recognition
19.… self-actualization need … a higher purpose for the person’s own life …Development and self-awareness
20.… transcendence need, which represents “connecting to something beyond…Legacy creation
21.… being connected with one’s complete self, others and the entire universe …Belonging and connection
22,… depend upon their workplaces for … social identity …Social identity
23.… inspires one toward certain ends or purposes that go beyond self …Purpose beyond self
24.… a fundamental shift of mind … the insight that one has gone the wrong way …Flexible mindset
25.… a clear vision of the future state … attractive and realistic image …Vision of future
26.… the process of selling a dream …Ideals into images
27.… profound feelings of well-being …Positive thinking
28.… given that the relationship between values and organizational culture …Values and culture congruence
29.… live integrated lives; who are no longer satisfied to park their faith, tradition or identity at the door…Individuality and its plurality acceptance
30.… search for significance in everyday life, including benevolence …Daily values application
31.… acceptance and appreciation of employees …Institutional recognition
32.… understanding answers to ultimate questions about life …Existential reflections
33.… individual goodwill; leading to the collective creation of a motivational organizational culture …Motivation and goodwill
34.… tolerance, respect, and acceptance of other religious and spiritual traditions; promoting a pluralistic, non-coercive, and non-degrading working environment … .Acceptance of religious beliefs
35.… are less likely to compromise their basic beliefs and values in the workplace …Respect for individual’s beliefs and values
36.… harmonize his/her life with the Beyond …Life harmonization
37.… life’s deeper motivations and an emotional connection to God …Connection with your God
38.… strong values with regard to community, family, and service …Human stance
39.… promote individual feelings of satisfaction through transcendence …Own satisfaction recognition
40.… employee emotional intelligence is associated positively and strongly with …Zeal for intrapersonal issues
41.… allow employees to reach their full potential. “If employees bring their physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual…Challenges in all individual spheres
42.… find ultimate purpose in life and to live accordingly …Ultimate life purpose
43.…provides a sense of competence and mastery…Quality employment of skills
44.… realize their full potential …Appropriated task level
45.… cannot go alone without the leadership support …Leadership support
46.… opportunity to demonstrate various aspects of one’s personality …Personality expression
47.… integrity, respect for people of all kinds …Kindness toward people
48.… deeper connection with people, support, freedom of expression, and genuine caring …Reliable relationships
49.… capacity for organizations to influence and organize meaning for their employees …Clear communication and conflict resolution
50.… providing autonomy, responsibility, task significance, identity, complexity, challenge and variety …Decision autonomy compatible with task
51.… being connected to others in a way that provides feelings of completeness and joy …Moments of fun and good humor
52.… recognition of an inner life that nourishes and is nourished by meaningful work …Attention to inner life
53.… a calling can help us understand the way in which work connects to individuals outside of economic need …Vocation recognition
54.… job satisfaction was not directly impacted by an individual’s spirituality, but through the integration of spirituality within the work …Spiritual environment

The intra-personal level represents a characteristic of internal orientation about the spiritual dimension, while the interpersonal level an external orientation and the institutional level an organizational orientation. In the center of this schema, the factor that expresses the main necessity related to the spiritual dimension is presented.

Grouping spiritual human factors by similarity ( The 12 Spiritual Factors) –

Inner LifeIdentityExperience an integral self-awareness (i.e., physical, emotional, spiritual and social)
   BelongingExperience belonging and connection with you, others and the universe
 ValuesExperience the employment, by you and your colleagues, of your values at work
 Inner lifeExperience zeal for internal issues (e.g., feelings, beliefs and values
PurposeCoherenceExperience the level of tasks appropriate for personal skills
 CohesionExperience challenges with gradual evolution
 PurposeExperience daily engagement with a legacy that integrates with your life
 Meaning  Experience alignment of your vocation and sources of job satisfaction (i.e., apply talents and qualities at work)
CommunityClimateExperience a mild organizational climate (i.e., promoting autonomy, communication and cooperation)
 CommunityExperience respect for basic beliefs and values
 ConnectionExperience personality in work relationships (i.e., high quality relationships)
 EnvironmentExperience an organizational environment open to expression of personality in an integral way

Analysis –

Based on this pattern, we analyzed the three spiritual dimensions: inner life, purpose and community. The dimension of inner life is comprised of a necessity to organize existential issues such as values, self-image and belonging. The attendance to this need leads to a state of serenity generated by harmonization of these existential questions.

The inner life factor refers to zeal for internal and personal issues, for example feelings, beliefs and values. Themes such as contemplation, humanity, nature, essence, existence, truth and self-knowledge are articulated to express this spiritual need. The values factor refers to personal guidelines for behaviors. This spiritual need represents a demand of alignment between organizational and personal values. The identity factor refers to self-awareness in its entirety.

This spiritual need represents a demand for understanding your self-image. The belonging factor refers to capacity for empathy, that is to establish emotional connections. This spiritual need represents a demand for self-positioning to external issues. The dimension of purpose comprises a necessity to recognize meaning in daily actions.

The purpose factor refer to your daily commitment with a legacy that integrates with all areas of your life. Themes such as future, quality, challenge, evolution, engagement, relevance and legacy are articulated to express this spiritual need. This spiritual need represents a demand for targeting daily actions towards a greater goal. The meaning factor refers to recognition of your contribution to others with the application of your best individual skills. This spiritual need represents a demand for usefulness and relevance at work recognition. The cohesion factor refers to a parallel evolution of professional and personal skills experienced at work.

This spiritual need represents a demand for self-development and integration. The coherence factor refers to alignment between tasks’ difficulty level and skills. The dimension of community is comprised of a necessity for reciprocity and respect for individuality. The attendance to this need leads to a state of serenity generated by sharing and acceptance of authenticity.

The community factor refers to respect for each individual’s basic beliefs and values. Themes such as communication, autonomy, respect, gentleness, attention, support and personality are articulated to express this spiritual need. This need represents a demand for the acceptance of your identity.

The connection factor refers to empathy development through attention to personal issues in work relationships. This spiritual need represents a demand for maintaining integrity including your vulnerabilities. The climate factor refers to autonomy, communication and cooperation in professional relationships. This spiritual need represents a demand for lightness in work human interactions. The environment factor refers to freedom to express your personality in an integral way. This spiritual need represents a demand for expressing your individuality and authenticity.

Conclusion –

This above review shows that workplace spirituality considers three dimensions: inner life, sense of purpose and sense of community. The main contribution of this review was the generation of workplace spiritual human factors from the previous literature. The inner life dimension brings four human factors: identity, values, belonging and inner life.

The purpose dimension brings another four factors: meaning, cohesion, coherence and purpose. The community dimension brings the last four factors: connection, climate, environment and community. This perspective brings a practical approach to the issue by proposing that by meeting these spiritual needs, satisfaction and work life quality can be improved.

The usage of this model can also contribute to individuals and organizations in the matter of understanding that their spiritual health needs attention, as well as their body and mind. Besides that, the model expresses a pattern in the organization of spiritual human factors. This pattern was interpreted in the model by relationship levels that refer to different manifestations of spiritual needs. These relationship levels were defined as intrapersonal, interpersonal and institutional. The intrapersonal level represents spirituality manifestation in a relationship with you, while the interpersonal level represents relationships with other people, and the institutional level represents relationships with organizations.

The main application of this finding was on workplace design or work design with the aim of achieving more sustainable relationships at work. For example, the spiritual human factors’ knowledge can be used in strategic planning to increase empathy in the process. The spiritual aspect on organizational changes can also support efforts to make work and its environment a better daily experience. At the team level, the attention to spiritual factors can add self-awareness, motivation and engagement.

Finally, spirituality in the workplace is therefore about fostering opportunities for personal growth, opportunities to contribute significantly to society, as well as being more attentive to colleagues, bosses, subordinates and clients. It is about meeting your needs for inner life, purpose, and community, which means a more sustainable way to live, work and grow.

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