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Sprititualtity and business

Spirituality and Business


Sharda S. Nandram

l

Margot Esther Borden

Editors

Spirituality and Business
Exploring Possibilities
for a New Management Paradigm


Editors
Sharda S. Nandram
www.nyenrode.nl
www.praansol.com
s.nandram@nyenrode.nl

sharda@praansol.com
þ31(0)641403325

Margot Esther Borden, M.A.
www.theintegralperspective.com
m.borden@theintegralperspective.com
þ33 (0) 6 19 97 33 67, þ1 602 748-4293

ISBN 978-3-642-02660-7
e-ISBN 978-3-642-02661-4
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-02661-4
Springer Heidelberg Dordrecht London New York
Library of Congress Control Number: 2009932130
# Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010
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To the memory of my Mother for the Seva and the Shakti.
My sincere love goes to my family and to all those whom I have met during
my spiritual journey; teachers, gurus, swamis, academics, students and business
people, in India and Europe, who have in one way or another helped me
transform my life.
Sharda S. Nandram

I would like to thank my beloved Guru Paramahamsa Hariharanandaji and his
wise and loving successor Paramahamsa Prajnananandaji for their constant,
patient and loving guidance over the years.
I would also like to sincerely thank all my other gurus who are in the form
of family, friends, clients and business mentors.


Margot Esther Borden


Preface

We, Sharda and Margot, feel very honored to be able to write and edit such a book.
Our spiritual journey has led to the passion of bringing together and sharing the
thoughts we ourselves have come across in our lives by meeting gurus, swamis,
like-minded seekers, managers, teachers, entrepreneurs, academics, students, and
by reading books and practicing spiritual techniques. We also have gained much
spiritual inspiration from the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother to whom
we are grateful.
The thoughts presented in this book already exist in the East and West. Integrating them into the way we do business, can help us to regain trust and respect in
business even in the current economic crisis.
We aim to convince others of our deep belief that spiritual practices and a
spiritual orientation help make life more enjoyable and makes us better human
beings through helping us to live in line with our karma in every context of life, in
our roles as employees, entrepreneurs, managers, leaders, mothers, or fathers, etc.
These ideals, in order to be balanced, will be accompanied by rational ideals and
desires and our aim for success in life. Success in business can only be achieved if
the inner life of the managers, leaders, and employees is grounded. Spiritual
practice is a key for achieving this balance as it helps to come home to the authentic
Self. We do a lot to make ourselves appear beautiful, but that focus is all too often
only on the outside or the surface. We take a bath every day to be clean, we use
makeup and we go to the beauty salon, why don’t we clean our inner Self by
praying, doing yoga, meditation, singing, etc? Nourishing our inner life will make
us feel responsible for what we do, how we do it, and how it fits our calling in life.
Our gratitude goes to H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for writing the foreword of this
book. We feel very honored that he shared his words on spirituality with us.
We are grateful to all the authors: Deepa Awal, Margaret Benefiel, Paul de Blot,
Mr. Balagangadhara, Luk Bouckaert, Monique de Wit, Henry van Straten, Mandar
Apte, Kuku Singh, Ashish Pandey, Suzan Langenberg, Jutta Ko¨nig, Wim Keizer,
Sorabh Gupta, Prahlad Singh Shekhawat, Nanik Rupani, Jan Vos, and La´szlo´
Zsolnai.

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Preface

They answered our call to share their beautiful and promising insights that uplift
people’s minds and hearts, demonstrating theoretical and practical paths for integrating the different aspects of our being at the workplace; a place where many of us
share the biggest part of our lives.
It felt good to receive the responses on the draft of the book as expressed by
esteemed business people and academics as it let us know that this work achieves
its purpose. We would therefore like to thank Ms. Liva S. Judic, Mr. Sushil
Jiwarajka, Mr. Karel Samsom, Mr. Toon Bullens, Mr. Ed Voerman, Mr. Gul
Kripalani, and Mr. Stephen Stumpf.
We thank Stuart Sovatsky for organizing the World Congress of Psychology and
Spirituality that provided the context for the foundations of this project. When we
both met in the same congress session, we could not imagine almost two years later
we would write and edit a book on the topic of our presentation.
We thank professor Dr. Willem Burggraaf and professor Dr. Paul de Blot of
Nyenrode Business University for providing the possibility to do this work in the
environment of Nyenrode, a very dynamic business environment.
We thank Dr. Vijayender Reddy Nalla for his help with proofreading. We also
want to thank our other colleagues, friends and family who contributed feedback
and input toward the realization of this work.
We are grateful to Ms. Martina Bihn from Springer for publishing this book and
Ms. Irene Barrios-Kezic, also from Springer, for taking care of the layout and
logistics.
We have done our utmost, from where we stand to bring you a view reflecting the
Truth. Forgive us if our mind, ego or intellect have clouded our perception in any
way in our effort to bring this knowledge to you.
Namaste
May 19, 2009, Amsterdam
May 19, 2009, Paris

Sharda S. Nandram
Margot E. Borden


Foreword

Now, more than ever, there is an urgent need to revive spirituality in business, as in
all aspects of life. It is sometimes thought that spirituality is incompatible with
profit making. However, in the current economic downturn, as businesses face the
challenge of restoring people’s faith and confidence, spirituality can play a key role.
Trust is the breath of business, ethics its limbs, and to uplift the spirit, its goal.
Spirituality is living and honoring human values, or those attributes and qualities
which are the very heart of humanity. These values include integrity, compassion,
cooperation, responsibility and a deep caring for all life.
Business devoid of spirituality breeds greed and exploitation, both significant
factors in the ongoing financial crisis. We have seen the flaws in communism; now
we are seeing the failings of unbridled capitalism. It is time for a new ‘ism’ –
humanism. If we want to reinstate trust and sustain it as well, we cannot compromise on human values. Although these values are innate in every human being, they
have been overshadowed by the stresses and strains of everyday life.
The quality of life depends a great deal on the state of one’s mind. Management
begins with the mind – a mind that is properly managed can manage anything. Just
taking a few minutes every day to reflect and to practice spiritual techniques such as
yoga, meditation, and simple breathing exercises can eliminate stress, increase
energy levels, and improve mental clarity and creativity. This greatly strengthens
one’s perception, intuition and expression. It gives much needed patience and
vision to any leader. It broadens one’s mind and develops the ability to consider
other points of view.
Spirituality also enhances awareness, belongingness and commitment. I call this
the ABC of life and it is integral to the success of any business. Awareness nurtures
the intellect, belongingness nurtures the heart and commitment nurtures life.
It is heartening to see CSR programs becoming a vital part of corporate agendas
across the world. Spirituality transforms CSR from being a matter of compliance
with standards, to something that springs from an inner conviction to do the right
thing. Spirituality or human values cannot be imposed by society, nor can they be
legislated. As the infinite potential within all people, spirituality need only be
uncovered, rekindled and encouraged.
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x

Foreword

Spirituality can adapt to all times and places and can benefit every organization,
whether large or small. This book provides fresh insights on the need for new and
sustainable paradigms of corporate governance. It presents a broad and multicultural overview of philosophies and applications integrating spiritual vision,
ethics and practices into the workplace. It thus offers lucid observations as well
as constructive solutions that will contribute to a shift in the practice of business.

H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Founder, International Association for Human Values
Founder, International Art of Living Foundation


Contents

1

Introduction: Exploring Possibilities for a New Paradigm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Sharda S. Nandram and Margot Esther Borden

Part I Concepts of Spirituality
2

Spirituality and Business . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Sharda S. Nandram

3

Methodological Issues in the Study of Spirituality at Work . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
Margaret Benefiel

4

Spirituality in Management Theories: A Perspective from India . . . . . . . 45
S.N. Balagangadhara

5

Innovation of Management in a Crisis: The Spiritual Power
of Organizations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61
Paul de Blot

6

From Business Ethics to Business Spirituality: The Socratic
Model of Leadership . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73
Luk Bouckaert

7

Ethics Needs Spirituality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87
La´szlo´ Zsolnai

Part II Personal Spirituality
8

Impact of Spirituality: Views of an Entrepreneur in India . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93
Nanik Rupani

9

Spirituality and Diversity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101
Jutta Ko¨nig
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Contents

10

Case Study: AWARE at Shell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109
Monique de Wit, Henry van Straten, and Mandar Apte

11

Inspiring Individuals: Transforming Organizations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117
Sorabh Gupta

12

Integral Transformational Coaching . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129
Wim A.J. Keizer and Sharda S. Nandram

13

Buddhist Practice and Principles and their Place
in Organizations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141
Margot Esther Borden and Prahlad Singh Shekhawat

14

Transformational Learning: An Ancient Concept
in Modern Times . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153
Deepa Awal

Part III Spirituality and Leadership
15

Applying an Integral Perspective to Business Strategy:
A Case Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165
Margot Esther Borden

16

Synchronizing Leadership Style with Integral Transformational
Yoga Principles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 183
Sharda S. Nandram

17

Wholesome Leadership Development Process: Case Study
of a Business Organization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 205
Ashish Pandey and Kuku Singh

18

The Model of Critique in Business . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 219
Suzan Langenberg

19

The Spiritual Features of Servant-Leadership . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 233
Sharda S. Nandram and Jan Vos

20

Epilogue: Ingredients of a New Paradigm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 245
Margot Esther Borden and Sharda S. Nandram

Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 249


Contents

xiii

Editors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 253
Authors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 255
Endorsement for the book of Dr. Sharda S. Nandram
and Margot Borden, M.A. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 261


Chapter 1

Introduction: Exploring Possibilities
for a New Paradigm
Sharda S. Nandram and Margot Esther Borden

1.1

Trends in Management

There are several economic developments that affect management practices today.
During the late 1970s, companies began initiating practices of business under the
name of doing ‘good’ for society, corporate philanthropy or business ethics. The
Body Shop, the well-known cosmetics company, took the initiative by launching a
major social and ethical audit in its factories in the 1990s. Shell took the initiative
by launching the report on the triple P’s for ‘People, Planet and Profits.’ They
applied the notion of sustainable business practices to a new sort of reporting, which
measures and analyzes not only the company’s financial goals and results, but also
its ecological and social goals.
Another trend we note is a sharp increase, especially during the last decade, of
consumers, producers, not-for-profit organizations and governmental awareness
and action toward the health and environmental aspects of living in consumer
societies. This has led to a modest trend of moving away from long-term depletion
and degradation of the physical environment of the earth.
We also notice that sustainable ventures and entrepreneurship are on the rise as
can be witnessed by the emergence of national and local organizations that subscribe to such business principles. Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), the
national organization in the USA, now represents companies with over $2 trillion
US dollars in turnover and 6 million employees (www.bsr.org). Corporate Social
Responsibility Europe is a similar organization in Europe.
A forth trend is the growing interest of spirituality in the financial world. In the
beginning of 2008, the Dow Jones Dharma Indexes were launched. These are the
world’s first indexes tracking the financial performance of companies world-wide
that comply with dharmic (Hindu and Buddhist) principles. The Indexes originated
after the collaboration between Dharma Investments and Dow Jones Indexes and are
currently evolving in form. In the Indian tradition, the pursuit of wealth or ‘artha’
and pleasure or ‘kama’ is balanced and guided by ‘dharma’ or ethical living, moral
duties, as well as cosmic harmony (harmony with the global environment). Recently,

S.S. Nandram and M.E. Borden (eds.), Spirituality and Business,
DOI 10.1007/978-3-642-02661-4_1, # Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

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S.S. Nandram and M.E. Borden

with the huge rise of the middle class and rapid economic growth, the unbridled
pursuit of wealth and consumerism are prevailing over dharma. Similarly, in China,
Southeast and East Asia, which were traditionally influenced by Buddhist values,
fast economic growth leads to some genuine development but also to corruption,
environmental destruction and mindless consumerism. Those businesses and investors who feel socially and ethically concerned do not always have well-defined
alternative evaluative norms and options. The Dow Jones Dharma Index tries to
provide such an alternative option. This shows that Corporate Social Responsibility
has some universal features as well as a cultural and religious context.
While the USA has traditionally been the largest and most entrepreneurial
economy in the world, in recent decades other regions, for instance, Asia and
Europe have witnessed measurable and continuing growth in entrepreneurship
activity and value creation stimulated by private as well as public parties. These
entrepreneurial societies have their own approaches and assets. India for example,
has traditionally been seen as a spiritual country. One can expect that a country like
India, with its diverse economic and social makeup, has different perspectives on
the place of work in one’s life, the role of companies, and the role of management.
As they play a role in the global entrepreneurial arena today, the vision they uphold
is destined to influence Western models of management due to its sustainability.
Indeed, the higher level of congruence in respect to Self, society and nature
responds to mankind’s inherent quest for meaning.
These trends have several implications for corporations at several levels:
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The interest in corporate social responsibility addresses the needs of all stakeholders i.e., shareholders, employees, customers, society, and the environment.
But, often these are only on paper and not in practice.
Companies who uphold these values realize that corporate philanthropy, business ethics, and spirituality are currently viewed as a competitive advantage for
attracting and retaining good employees and conscientious customers.
Consumers, governmental organizations, CSR groups, and environmental
groups are creating a growing demand for companies to take a more holistic
approach to business.
All the big corporate scandals (Enron, WorldCom, Lernout & Hauspie, Ahold, and
most recently, Satyam) bring to the forefront the fact that it is important for executives to be motivated by a broader purpose than mere monetary considerations.
In today’s market which is saturated with goods and services, companies are
finding ways to come to the cutting edge by incorporating positive human values
such as compassion. This responds to society’s increasing demand for good
leadership, management, and general business practices.

1.2

New Leadership Models

These developments require alternative leadership models to the ones that are
currently in practice. This is not the only challenge the leaders face. Rapid globalization also urges leaders to work faster to keep up with an increasingly fast moving


1 Introduction: Exploring Possibilities for a New Paradigm

3

market and competition. Employees are also faced with these challenges as well as
an increasing search for meaning in the workplace, where they are spending more
and more of their waking hours. Even when they are not in the office, they are all
too often driven to access their e-mail to be kept updated outside working hours.
More often than not, employees consult their e-mails even while on holiday by
visiting an internet cafe´ or using a blackberry. Now, more than ever before, we are
continuously mentally occupied by our work. Managers and entrepreneurs often
face the constant demands of the outer world to satisfy the stakeholders, employees,
and the market demands, without focusing inwards on their personal, human needs.
Entrepreneurs who started their business with a lot of passion realize that they do
not have the energy to manage the business growth with all that it involves. They
find that just managing takes a lot of their energy and does not leave them the time
and energy they need to manage the other areas of their endeavors.
Spirituality can provide answers to many of these dilemmas and is therefore
becoming increasingly of interest to entrepreneurs, managers and leaders. Spirituality is gaining more and more interest in Western business models. There are
several academic and nonacademic definitions of spirituality. Spirituality is an
umbrella concept that includes several dimensions of intrapersonal experiences
(the inner side of spirituality), interpersonal experiences and person–situation
experiences (the outer side of spirituality), and the connectedness between these
types of experiences. At the concrete level it has to do with attitudes, values,
emotions, and behaviors related to an inner force in human beings that lead us to
self-actualization and happiness.

1.3

Eastern and Western Influences

There is an emerging trend among big corporations and business schools to
embrace Indian philosophy. Today, phrases from ancient Hindu texts such as the
Bhagavad Gita and others have started to appear in management courses and
training programs. Top business schools abroad as well as in India have introduced
‘self-mastery’ classes that use Indian methods to help managers boost their leadership skills and find inner peace in their increasingly work-dominated lives. C.K.
Prahalad, an influential management guru uses the term ‘inclusive capitalism’ to
promote the idea that corporations can simultaneously create value and social
justice. This has developed into the movement called ‘Karma Capitalism’.
“Yoga has become popular in the US and China and due to that in India as well,”
said Swami Ved Bharati at the International Yoga Conference in November 2008 in
Rishikesh, India. The positive impacts of Yoga and Meditation techniques in
clinical settings have encouraged psychologists to study the less tangible parts of
human nature. Within the field of psychology the phenomenon of spirituality takes
on scientific forms. The Western conception of human beings is macrocosmic. It is
traditionally oriented toward the study of our relationship to the outer world. This
approach has contributed to the lives of individuals by addressing some of the more


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S.S. Nandram and M.E. Borden

material and physiological challenges to man’s well-being. While they have made
real progress in the development of scientific methodologies, the underlying vision
is exclusively materialistic and therefore gives a fragmented vision of man and his
potential. This in turn, cannot lead to the ultimate fulfillment and meaning that
individuals are increasingly seeking. Eastern thought is microcosmically oriented.
Its tendency to focus inwards has developed a science of consciousness which
has fallen into the wayside with the predominance of the more tangible, materialistic worldview. By developing scientific means of delving into the mysteries of
consciousness, Eastern thought carries a congruence that is more universal and
can be adopted independently of religion, unlike spiritual worldviews coming from
the West.
An integration of knowledge and inspiration from both Eastern and Western
scholars can bring about a balanced vision incorporating ideals and action that can
provide many of the answers to current world dilemmas. Integrating such spiritual
concepts as intuition and authenticity can bring an entirely new meaning and
corresponding way of functioning to the business community. Psychology has
done a lot to free spiritual ideals from their denominational origins making them
more accessible for general application in society. In a recently published article,
Sheep (2006) concludes: “Conceptualizations and measurement of spirituality is
most developed in psychology, tracing its roots as far back as William James’
notion of the conscious Self as being comprised of three parts: the material, social,
and spiritual.” He notes that spirituality has been defined in this discipline as,
“subjective feelings, thoughts, and behaviors that arise from a search for the sacred,
where sacred is defined broadly as referring to a divine being, divine object,
ultimate reality, or ultimate truth as perceived by the individual.” One of the
subjective feelings researchers in management literature try to examine is that of
intuition. For example, Dane and Pratt (2007) explored the role of intuition in
decision-making processes of management. They concluded that integrating intuition and rational analysis in decision-making results in a better outcome.

1.4

Spirituality in Management Journals

In the business world, there are several entrepreneurs or managers who attribute
their success to their spiritual attitude and practices. However, these insights cannot
be found yet in academic journals. Normally, academic articles on spirituality cover
conceptual models towards organizational performance, definition issues, models
towards individual well-being and consciousness, and religion-related models.
There have been very few articles demonstrating the empirical results of applying
spiritual concepts in business. The academic journals that currently address management-related spirituality are Journal of Managerial Psychology, Journal of
Management Development, Journal of Organization Change Management, Journal
of Management Inquiry, Journal of Management Spirituality, and Religion and


1 Introduction: Exploring Possibilities for a New Paradigm

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Leadership Quarterly. Journals that pay some attention to this topic are Organizational Management Journal, The Journal of American Academy of Business, The
Journal of Business Ethics, and Human Resource Management Review. In addition
to the top management journals publishing on this topic, we found two more papers
that address the topic of spirituality: one paper in the Academy of Management
Executives and the other in a conference paper of the Academy of Management, in
2004 and 2005. On related concepts such as intuition, authenticity, and religion, a
few articles can be found in the Academy of Management Journal and Harvard
Business Review.
Several authors mention the increased interest in the topic of workplace spirituality. The topic of spirituality with a broader application, such as a religious
context, has been of interest for a longer time than these newer concepts. Articles
can be found in the Journal of Contemporary Religion, International Journal of
Intercultural Relations, Journal of Communication Management, and International
Journal of Cross Cultural Management. There is another category of articles that
can be found in specific clinical-related journals addressing the topic of spirituality
and its relationship to well-being. These are, for example, Journal of Community
Psychology, International Review of Psychiatry, Psychological Medicine, and
Spirituality and Health International. Both the general subject of spirituality and
the subject of well-being have been the topics of research for much longer than the
topic of spirituality and business. In the interest of better understanding and
applying spirituality in business, it became necessary to develop a scientific and
nondenominational approach. For example, tools have been developed to measure
and implement spiritual principles in business. Some of the tools that have been
designed and validated are: the Multidimensional Measurement of Religiousness
and Spirituality (MMRS), the Spirituality Index of Well-being (SIWB), the Spiritual Wellbeing Scale (SWB), the Vedic Personality Inventory (VPI), the Daily
Spiritual Experiences Scale (DSES), the Spiritual Assessment Inventory (SAI), and
the Spiritual Transcendence Scale (STS). One of the measures currently in a
developing stage is the Integral Development Index (IDI) (Borden 2009). All
these instruments analyze on an individual level. Instrument development for the
organizational level is in its initial stages. Initiatives are under way for developing
instruments for measuring the workplace spirituality (Ashmos and Duchon 2000);
(Mitroff and Denton 1999).

1.4.1

Spirituality and Management

Management will understand the relevance of spirituality if it is related to organizational output. Several authors have been trying to answer the question of why
spirituality matters to the business world. Krishnakumar and Neck (2002) offer two
explanations. Firstly, that the meaning of work has changed and people now spend
more time at work than in the past. Therefore, it can be asserted that people do not
find it sufficient to experience spirituality exclusively in their personal life. They are


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S.S. Nandram and M.E. Borden

seeking spirituality that applies to all areas of their life including their workplace.
Secondly, there is an agreement amongst researchers that spirituality is beneficial to
organizations. There is empirical evidence for a positive relationship between
workplace spirituality and:
a.
b.
c.
d.

Individual creativity
Commitment to organizational goals
Honesty and trust within organizations
Personal fulfillment

Ashmos and Duchon (2000) find that people’s lives are increasingly centered on the
workplace which, in part, is replacing neighborhoods, churches, civic groups, and
extended families. What is the theoretical framework behind this?

1.5

The Theoretical Framework of Spirituality in This Book

Spirituality has a key root in psychology, religious studies, and philosophy. We
notice a difference in Eastern and Western perspectives when studying spirituality.
In Western studies, with their advanced material paradigm, these three roots often
function independently, whereas in Eastern studies, with their holistic paradigm, all
three are much more integrated. Therefore, the spiritual or inner relationship to the
divine is an implicit part of religion in the East. The application of spirituality in
management in the West is often understood through its effects on human psychology. This is the case in the field of mindfulness which uses traditional meditation
practice and explores its practical effects on human psychology and well-being.
Much empirical research has also been done in mind–body medicine, where the
benefits of meditation and well-being can also be seen to clearly filter down to our
physical health. Benson (2000) did experiments with meditation and the ‘relaxation
response’ which showed positive results on patients’ health. Second is the concept
of flow examined by Csikszentmihalyi (1990), who talks about an optimal psychological experience. Third is the concept of Vipassana or focused meditation examined by Epstein (1995).
One of the dominant Eastern perspectives that is useful for understanding
spirituality hails from Sri Aurobindo. Insights can be gained from his works,
Integral Yoga (1993) and the Life Divine (1970). His work and its applications
and benefits to business are developed further in chapters 1, 15, and 16 of this book.
Sri Aurobindo describes many steps in the transformation process of which there
are two main levels. The first is the spiritual transformation which occurs through
seeking the ultimate truth and light within and then bringing it down into the denser
planes and finally into the material plane. Here, we can start to apply the concept of
bringing spirit into matter. The second is the supramental transformation, which is a
deeper form of transformation. It is about the culmination of the entire evolution.
This stage is about a collective evolution. The first one will result in a glorified,
divinized body. The second one will result in individuals who act as forerunners of


1 Introduction: Exploring Possibilities for a New Paradigm

7

a new truth consciousness. They have the capacity to unite and identify with the
environment and with others. Sri Aurobindo’s thought is among several yogic
schools that believe that rather than seeking to transcend the ego, and in essence,
leave it behind in order to realize the Inner Being, we can aim our spiritual seeking
at realizing the Inner Being, our divine spark or soul. Through bringing our Inner
Being to the forefront in our lives, it provides the guiding light and the way to
harmony between the different parts of the outer self: body, mind, and emotions.
Wilber (2000) based his own integral theory on these foundations and Cortright
(2007) connects Eastern and Western approaches to psychology and healing.
In general, we can think of three philosophical views on the ultimate nature of
reality (Miovic, 2004). The first one is the theistic view which believes in the
existence of God or a supreme being, an immortal soul or deities. Miovic explains
the positive influences of theism in the arts, humanities, and in providing a method
of coping with difficulties in life. The weaknesses he refers to in this view are found
in the divergent views of the Supreme Being, God or reality, fanaticism, cults, and
even war. People also find it difficult to explain evil or bad things that happen to
them in terms of “how can God let me suffer?”
The second one is atheism, which is the belief in the nonexistence of God, any
type of soul or deity. In this view, matter is the only reality. We agree with Miovic’s
statement that atheism supports rational discourse and it has the tendency to
challenge corrupt religious institutions. The weaknesses lie in its inability to
prove that God does not exist, its small number of adherents in most cultures and
its existential bleakness (Miovic, 2004).
The third view is agnosticism with the belief that the question of whether or not
God, any type of soul or deity exists either has not been or cannot be answered.
Miovic mentions that science assumes quantification, measurable concepts and
reliability and thus it cannot say anything about immeasurable phenomena, forces,
events or beings that may well exist. Therefore, this kind of science cannot act as an
arbiter of truth in debates on the ultimate nature of reality.
The authors of this book were asked to write about spirituality in the context of
business. It was up to them whether they chose a theistic or atheistic point of view.
In the academic literature, there are scholars who realize that the dominant scientific perspective is not suitable for examining spirituality. Pioneering needs to be
done to develop suitable frameworks that become acceptable to science.
Spirituality in this book takes a diversity perspective, which means that it
accepts that there are many models of spirituality and many means to seek it. It
sees spirituality as a set of abilities that can be taught and a continuous process of
inner, individual development. It is both an individual and a collective asset in the
context of organizations. It has inner and outer aspects and, in this book, we mainly
address the outer forms of spirituality as the different chapters address attitudes,
behaviors, motivation, or values. The inner aspects are considered in discussions
that deal with making spirituality scientific. Spirituality in this book is being viewed
as a resource that can be beneficial in providing meaning and fulfillment to
individuals and thus affecting the productivity of the organizations they work for,
and, finally, it is a source of competitive advantage for business.


8

S.S. Nandram and M.E. Borden

The resource-based view (RBV) can help us to frame spirituality in relation to
organizational output. Penrose’s theory of the firm is one of the first theoretical
contributions linking a firm’s resources to its economic output (Penrose, 1959).
Although this concept is not explicitly spiritual, it provides us with a context in
which management can integrate a spiritual vision and approaches. Penrose discussed the sources of a firm’s growth, which she essentially defined as an evolutionary process involving the accumulation of knowledge relevant to the firm.
Penrose attached importance to the distinctive knowledge and experience of the
entrepreneur as a person and saw these as indispensable assets for growth. In this
view, a firm’s resources are not fully utilized. People, such as the managers and
entrepreneurs of the firm, will constantly try to find new ways to exploit the
available resources. This view, in its recognition of the evolutionary pull of consciousness and its invitation to explore a company’s resources, provides a welcoming invitation for a spiritual worldview. Several researchers have been inspired by
the work of Penrose and have studied several types of resources such as competences and skills in the context of learning. Barney (1991) developed RBV based on
the concepts that competitive advantage can be reached if a firm develops resources
and capabilities that are valuable, rare, imperfectly imitable, and not substitutable.
The key idea of RBV is that firms should use heterogeneous resources such as these
to contribute to their competitive advantages. How does spirituality fit into RBV?
The first criterion is creation of value. A common way for firms to create value is
through decreasing the costs of product and services by finding new ways for
production and delivery. Spirituality creates value because it impacts the creativity,
satisfaction, and commitment of employees in a positive way. It also raises their
trust in an organization, thereby creating a positive spiritual climate. This further
cuts cost by reducing the time required for communication. Fry (2005) defines
spiritual leadership as values, attitudes, and behaviors of employees that help in
awakening their intrinsic motivation. These intangible concepts and qualities have
the potential to create value. Spiritual practice, through nourishing these qualities in
individuals, can further contribute to this.
The second criterion is rareness. Resources can be competitive only if they are
rare. Common resources cannot create the competitive advantage. Bouckaert
(2007) explains the opportunity cost of time spent for spiritual practices. Time is
a scarce resource, he says, and by investing time for meditation and prayer, we
cannot use this time for other activities. Spiritual practice requires time, and yet it
can create a competitive advantage in the sense that it provides the spiritually
oriented person the ability to cope better with stress or setbacks compared with a
nonspiritually oriented person. Spirituality needs nourishment through prayer and
other spiritual practices. When it is not nourished, it can dry up. The third criterion
is that for something to create value, it must be imperfectly imitable. Firms achieve
short-term and long-term profits only if their resources cannot be imitated. Again,
spirituality can be seen as a resource here as it is complex, and because it comes
from deep within our consciousness, it cannot be traced easily. Therefore, it cannot
be imitated by others. No spiritual experience, for example, a meditation, is similar
to another one even for the same person.


1 Introduction: Exploring Possibilities for a New Paradigm

9

The fourth criterion is that it cannot be substitutable. Spirituality, through the
depth and the holistic congruence it brings to individuals and the organizations they
make up, fits this criterion. The unique ways and qualities it contributes to organizations are not substitutable. Nonsubstitutability is a less tangible asset to businesses than financial resources. This is why it requires all four criteria to be defined
as a resource.
After reviewing the development of RBV, Barney et al. (2001) conclude that its
strength is that it represents an opportunity to link microorganizational processes to
the success or failure of organizations. Many studies relate resources to outcomes
but few focus on the process of developing inner resources. They conclude that
organizations where ethical values are important, such as Ben and Jerry’s and Body
Shop, have embedded ethics in their business culture in a way that is inimitable.
The working definition of spirituality for the purposes of this book is a process of
designing ones’ activities (personal or professional) in such a way that they are
aligned with the authentic Self (of the individual or the business). It consists of four
main processes:
Psychic process – consists of finding the authentic Self (the inner hidden Self) by
exploring it through a variety of tools such as meditation, yoga, prayer, learning,
reflection and contemplation, etc.
Mental process – consists of an evaluation of the facilities and sources needed to
fulfill the needs of the authentic Self.
Strategy or physical process – consists of concrete steps in terms of behaviors
and values to implement and align thought, word, and action to the authentic Self.
Vital process – is about bringing balance and a continuous connection between
the authentic Self and the needs of the environment.

1.6

Structure of the Book

The first part of the book addresses concepts of spirituality.
Sharda Nandram provides an overview of issues on spirituality and some
definitions of spirituality in both nonacademic settings and academic literature.
She makes a distinction between inner and outer spirituality. She explains the types
of knowledge based on the work of Sri Aurobindo and the work of Harman on the
epistemology of consciousness and discusses how these can help to explore spirituality in a scientific framework.
Margaret Benefiel outlines the current debate about the relationship between
spirituality and business in business and management literature and uses Burrell
and Morgan’s paradigms to contextualize that debate. She then draws on Bernard
Lonergan’s work to bridge the chasm between opposing camps and, building
on Lonergan, examines the ‘flatland’ state of the social sciences and Daniel
Helminiak’s proposal to introduce a multileveled approach to social scientific
study. The chapter concludes with some research implications for the field of
spirituality at work.


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S.S. Nandram and M.E. Borden

Balagangadhara explores two ways of marrying economic and management
theories to religion and spirituality: the ‘Western, Judeo-Christian approach’
and ‘an Indian, heathen’ one. He draws on observation and experience to explore
human beings’ limitless desires, greed, needs, and wants in terms of these two
worldviews and corresponding modes of functioning. He then proposes an alternative view that opens up the potential for the happiness and fulfillment that is the
potential of each human being.
Paul de Blot uses the term Business Spirituality and describes it as the
operationalization of the corporate soul, proceeding on three interrelated levels.
The main purpose of a company is both overall quality and quality of the product
or service. This is a professional approach with an optimal effect that can be
measured quantitatively. It is the level of doing which is focused on making profit.
According to him, the physical level of doing does not provide enough energy for
doing great things and trying to make this finite energy infinite leads to stress and
burnout. He tells us that our source of unlimited energy resources is found on a
deeper level of consciousness, the level of being. This inner source of spiritual
energy gives rise to the idealism and inspiration of our vocation. Company
vocation is the collective dream of the mission. This is also a spiritual learning
process. Spiritual energy gives us joy and happiness and helps us derive a sense of
meaning from our work. So, it is Pneuma, on the level of being, that is the source
of energy for the level of doing; from Pneuma to Profit. The interaction between
Pneuma and Profit, being and doing, is an energy exchange on two levels. It is a
learning process on the cosmic level of Planet; an exchange of cosmic energy
between the material, earth plane and sky or cosmic, spiritual planes. It provides
learning through cooperation and friendship, by People. Business Spirituality is
the overall integration of the entire web of life including the four P’s of Profit,
Planet, People, and Pneuma.
Luk Bouckaert analyzes the context for the emergence of business ethics and
explains the internal paradox of business ethics in management. He develops the
assumption that spirituality should be the source of business ethics. He further
explores the potential of the Socratic model of leadership as a way to cope with the
business ethics paradox.
Laszlo Zsolnai argues that ethics needs spirituality as an underlying background
and as a major motivational force. According to him, ethical initiatives in business
fail if they are not based on genuine ethical commitments. Serving the well-being of
communities, nature, and future generations requires authentic care, which develops from experiential oneness with others and with the universal source of creation.
In the second part of the book, we discuss how spirituality at the individual level
is being applied in the workplace. Nanik Rupani provides us with views on
spirituality from an Indian perspective. To him, spirituality is closely related to
religion. Based on his own experiences, he believes “success is our birthright”, not
the monopoly of just a few. One must do one’s karma (activities) to the best of one’s
ability and not worry about the gains, as the result lies in the Lord’s hand alone.
He also believes service to humanity is the best work of life.


1 Introduction: Exploring Possibilities for a New Paradigm

11

Jutta Ko¨nig deals with the question of how to facilitate managers’ fundamental
shift in values to a greater worldview and how “to arrange conditions which
foster individuals actualizing their own latent creativity.” She explores how spiritual practice and the conscious implementation of diversity in organizations can
liberate us from restrictive thoughts, enhance consciousness, and facilitate a paradigm change.
Monique de Wit, Henry van Straten, and Mandar Apte describe AWARE
(at work a global initiative of employees in Shell with the objective of reducing
stress, and increasing self-awareness and interpersonal effectiveness). AWARE is a
bottom up, “staff helping staff” initiative that organizes learning workshops and
sessions based on yoga, meditation, and profound breathing techniques for all
interested employees. AWARE started from the initiative of a few employees in
2004 and was formalized in 2007. It now consists of a global team and 13 local
teams in 9 countries delivering local initiatives and programs.
Gupta explains APEX (Achieving Personal Excellence) – a program designed
by the International Association for Human Values (IAHV) for corporate leadership. It has been specifically designed to address the need for development of
holistic management, increased team spirit, and inspiring leadership with a broad
vision of society. APEX aims to transform managers into leaders by promoting
excellence. Central to the approach is the principle of ‘inspiration’. He explains that
individuals take responsibility and display a greater level of commitment to the
visions of employees and companies only when they are inspired.
Keizer and Nandram present the concept of Integral Transformational Coaching
based on the concept of Flow and its effects on work performance. Integral
Transformational Coaching is a method that prevents and cures unhealthy stress
and burnout. They draw on some tried and tested spiritually based insights from the
schools of mindfulness, coaching, and mental fitness. Their model is suitable for
diagnosing and transforming individuals by a holistic coaching process that
addresses behavior, thinking, feeling, and believing.
Borden and Shekhawat explore the benefits of Buddhist thought and practices
and their implications from individual, management, and organizational contexts.
They draw on the increasing amount of scientific research on the functioning of the
brain and proven studies on how the benefits of meditation contribute to well-being,
fulfillment and deeper vision, and sense of meaning in life. They explore the
implications of this emerging research for the business model.
Deepa Awal addresses Transformational Learning in the context of business.
According to her, this concept merits attention because it has the potential to bring
about significant change in an individual’s beliefs, assumptions, and worldview. It
also provides critical components in respect to self-awareness and the potential to
integrate new paradigms which are the basis for adaptability and survival in a world
of constant and rapid change. In her chapter, she defines the concept of Transformational Learning and states how it can be beneficial to organizations.
In the third part of the book, several conceptual models will be presented to
deepen the discussion on how to implement spirituality in organizations. Margot


12

S.S. Nandram and M.E. Borden

Borden shares a case study in which she applied Integral Philosophy to help a large
multinational company align its brand to a higher, more universal, and more ethical
ideology. She elaborates the combined quantitative and qualitative research methodology developed to gain insight into the higher drives and motivations of a
particular consumer group. The insights gained from this research result in concrete
elements such as proposal for a new product line incorporating vision, qualities,
images, and messages, and ultimately an evolved brand strategy aimed at addressing consumers’ deep, underlying need for fulfillment and a greater sense of
meaning. She believes that, in turn, this will nourish the innate drive to evolve
toward our highest potentials. She suggests the importance and potential of integrating these higher principles into the very framework and foundation of the
company. This congruence to a higher set of ideals addresses not only the current
ethical (economic and ecological) crisis, but also contributes to fulfilling man’s
deepest, underlying needs.
Sharda Nandram presents with the principles of Transformational Yoga, a
leadership style which she applies to a case study involving the multinational
company, Wipro. The idea behind this model is that there are behaviors needed at
the physical, vital, mental, and psychic levels in order to work on the spiritual level.
The model defines the tasks needed at each level of an organization.
Ashish Kumar Pandey and Kuku Sing describe the Wholesome Leadership
approach and the Wholesome Leadership Development Process (WLDP) developed
by Pragati Leadership Institute. This approach and process is based on an integrative
view of leadership. Several leadership development interventions based on this
approach and processes have been implemented in many organizations in India
and abroad. They present an implementation of their model at SEW-EURODRIVE
INDIA.
Suzan Langenberg explains the concept of critique as a means of fuelling
spiritual motivation in our business behavior and social responsibility of organizations. Critique based on the individual will “not to be governed that way.”
Although, to start, we do not have alternative, ethical principles or well-known
scientific paradigms to back up our process, according to her, this critique-exercise
or ‘disobedience’ leads primarily to a confrontation with the self and a quest for
emancipation. It creates uncertainty and, at the same time, an open playing field
for new developments. In short, it brings us to the practice of encouraging freedom
and spiritual inspiration. She introduces an example of an organization that has
organized the spiritual praxis of “truth-telling and self-critique.”
Sharda Nandram and Jan Vos write about the spiritual foundations of ServantLeadership. According to them, Servant-Leadership can be approached as a means
to create a meaningful workplace for all of the stakeholders involved in an organization. It involves authenticity, listening to and empowering the employees. They
explore the Servant-Leadership model as an alternative perspective for the development of a new leadership paradigm to give employees a higher level of meaning
and to contribute to the transformation of the workplace.
In the Epilog, we reflect on the ingredients proposed throughout the chapters for
a new paradigm in business.


1 Introduction: Exploring Possibilities for a New Paradigm

1.6.1

13

Target Readers

This book is aimed at managers, consultants, practitioners, academics, and management students, and all those who seek ideas and methods for contributing to
change by transforming the way we do business. It offers a variety of approaches to
spirituality and explores the principles and practices of applying them in business. It
is aimed at helping the business community develop a sense of spirituality as a
positive inner resource that can enrich their lives by giving them meaning and
fulfillment that cannot be provided by purely materialistic models of doing
business.

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Part I

Concepts of Spirituality


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