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Sustainable Management,
Wertschöpfung und Effizienz

Laurențiu Tăchiciu · Gregor Weber
Markus Bodemann Editors

Building Engagement
for Sustainable
Development
Challenges of Sustainable Economy
in Times of Accelerated Change


Sustainable Management,
­Wertschöpfung und Effizienz
Reihe herausgegeben von
Gregor Weber, Breunigweiler, Deutschland
Markus Bodemann, Warburg, Deutschland
René Schmidpeter, Köln, Deutschland


In dieser Schriftenreihe stehen insbesondere empirische und praxisnahe Studien
zu nachhaltigem Wirtschaften und Effizienz im Mittelpunkt. Energie-, Umwelt-,
Nachhaltigkeits-, CSR-, Innovations-, Risiko- und integrierte Managementsysteme sind nur einige Beispiele, die Sie hier wiederfinden. Ein besonderer Fokus
liegt dabei auf dem Nutzen, den solche Systeme für die Anwendung in der Praxis
bieten, um zu helfen die globalen Nachhaltigkeitsziele (SDGs) umzusetzen. Pu­
bliziert werden nationale und internationale wissenschaftliche Arbeiten.
Reihenherausgeber
Dr. Gregor Weber, ecoistics.institute
Dr. Markus Bodemann
Prof. Dr. René Schmidpeter, Center for Advanced Sustainable Management,


Cologne Business School
This series is focusing on empirical and practical research in the fields of sustainable management and efficiency. Management systems in the context of energy,
environment, sustainability, CSR, innovation, risk as well as integrated management systems are just a few examples which can be found here. A special focus is
on the value such systems can offer for the application in practice supporting the
implementation of the global sustainable development goals, the SDGs. National
and international scientific publications are published (English and German).
Series Editors
Dr. Gregor Weber, ecoistics.institute
Dr. Markus Bodemann
Prof. Dr. René Schmidpeter, Center for Advanced Sustainable Management,
Cologne Business School

More information about this series at http://www.springer.com/series/15909


Laurențiu Tăchiciu · Gregor Weber ·
Markus Bodemann
Editors

Building Engagement
for Sustainable
Development
Challenges of Sustainable Economy
in Times of Accelerated Change


Editors
Laurentˏiu Tăchiciu
Bucuresti, Romania


Gregor Weber
Breunigweiler, Germany

Markus Bodemann
Warburg, Germany

ISSN 2523-8639  (electronic)
ISSN 2523-8620
Sustainable Management, Wertschöpfung und Effizienz
ISBN 978-3-658-26171-9
ISBN 978-3-658-26172-6  (eBook)
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-658-26172-6
Springer Gabler
© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, part of Springer Nature 2019
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The registered company address is: Abraham-Lincoln-Str. 46, 65189 Wiesbaden, Germany



Foreword
The 21st century started with a prevailing concern regarding sustainability. Influent
personalities have announced the down of a new era of responsibility, and sustainability has become the most frequented concept by politicians, scholars, corporate
leaders and civic movements representatives, all over the world. While at discursive
level appears to be a quasi-consensus in favor of a sustainable economic pattern, in
practice the transition to sustainability faces the resilience of established interests
which have contributed to the formation of modern societies and today represent the
very foundation of our way of life. The big picture shows incontestable progress in
some fields - forged mainly through legislation and costly policy initiatives - accompanied by emblematic cases of success. However, all these are delayed in acquiring an
endemic character and the critical mass to demonstrate an actual shift to a sustainable
economic model. Additionally, nowadays technological race relies on a set of incentives nurtured by individuals’ inclination toward profit maximization, enrichment, possession of goods, envy, excessive expense, luxury and extravagance, generating, in
turn, excessive resources’ consumption and wastage, with a speed of change that far
exceeds the capacity of our communities to make informed and responsible choices.
This landscape invites to reflection about people behavior in everyday life, in different
situations where a person can be found: at home or at work, as a consumer or producer, as a politician, a businessman or simply a citizen. The behaviors are socially
conditioned and rooted into traditions and ideologies. However, behaviors are
strongly influenced by knowledge and education, methods and institutions. Looking
into the future, one can imagine alternative scenarios: a society characterized by modesty, freedom and social responsibility versus a society characterized by extreme individualism, social risk and increased social divide. The first scenario is the sustainable
way. It may well offer moral satisfaction, but it requires the sacrifice, to some extent,
of individual material interests. If that first scenario is the preferred option, then it is
time to use knowledge, education, methods and institutions as tools for building
strong engagement to a sustainable economy and society.
The contributors to the present volume have as common denominator the preoccupation for the human side of the transition to sustainability, while their approaches
are diverse.
Onete, Budz and Teodorescu investigate the connections between spirituality and sustainability. According to them, spirituality is connected to sustainability because both


Foreword


VI

concepts eliminate time limits, referring to a future supposed to continue indefinitely.
They argue that spirituality is the foundation of the sense of community, aligning values and believes providing moral support and enhancing people engagement toward
desired goals. Spirituality can strengthen business organizations and their links with
the society and should therefore be given greater attention in research as well as in
education and training.
New challenges to sustainability come from the growing ageing population phenomenon. The increasing longevity puts pressure on resources’ consumption and aggravates financial imbalances in society, calling for new approaches and solutions.
Drăgușin, Sîrbu, Grosu and Iosif address the issue, advocating for some forms of prolonging active life for the elderly to create conditions for valorizing the seniors' expertise and wisdom on the one hand and for increasing the well-being of this category of
population on the other.
In recent years, convincing evidence has been published, showing that gender equality
in management positions contributes to achieving a better balance of short-term profitability and long-term sustainability. Still, women continue to be discriminated
against, even though this phenomenon sometimes has a tacit or occult character. This
issue is approached in this book by Săseanu, Felea and Zgură. They explain the distinctive characteristics of women leadership style as compared with men leadership, assess the gender participation in leadership gap and conclude that there is no justification for discrimination.
Consumption patterns have the highest importance in driving the economy toward a
sustainable model. We witness significant changes in consumers’ orientation, which
determinants, forms of manifestation and consequences in relation to sustainability
require early assessment and deeper understanding. In this area of concern, the research of Bobe, Toma and Procopie focuses on the factors that influence choices between organic and conventional food, and the work of Voinea, Popescu and Negrea
discusses youth preferences regarding the consumption of cultural goods. Apart from
more specific results, both studies note a lack of information and education among
consumers, which makes room for a docile, conformist and complacent behavior.
There is growing anxiety about how the education system responds to the current and
future challenges. Within this volume, this preoccupation is illustrated by several different approaches: a statistical analysis of the higher education evolution in Romania


Foreword

VII


which include considerations regarding the need for more flexibility and better adaptation to business and social needs in general (Stanciu, Sârbu and Bucur), an empirical
evaluation of a Business Administration bachelor program based on a survey among
graduates (Vasiliu, Albăstroiu, Dina and Bucur), and an interesting proposition by Maiorescu, Giușcă and Sabou to improve problem solving in learning processes by using
colors adapted to the nature of the problem.
Sometimes, even when a structured knowledge base is available, people fail to exploit
it adequately because a superficial behavior in processing information, which might
be a side effect of the nowadays information overload. It means that people possess
the information without understanding its meaning and without translating it into
knowledge applied in performing everyday tasks. This point is emphasized by Pamfilie,
Bumbac and Vasilcovchi in a study about how innovation is handled by business organizations.
Existing practices may be questioned or may be improved, in order to further reduce
resource consumption, reduce or avoid losses and waste. Ceaușu, Olaru, Weber and
Bodemann support placing greater emphasis on the impact of business start-ups on
targeted socio-economic ecosystems in assessing the performance of start-up assistance organizations. Another research team (Mateescu, Dinu and Maftei) discuss the
opportunity to extend risk assessment methods by introducing detectability as an additional parameter to the traditional two: probability and severity. Moreover, Geldmacher, Just, Grab and Kompalla propose improving technology acceptance models
by introducing time as a factor in the analysis.
The present volume may provide readers the inspiration needed to design solutions
to the problems they face in the current work. More importantly, however, the volume urges reflection on the way in which each of us thinks and acts on a regular basis.
Sustainability is not only a matter that can be a profession for some, a flag in the struggle for power for others or a simple intellectual challenge. Sustainability is not about
smartness but wisdom. Sustainability is about how we do things and how we live our
everyday lives.
The editors


Table of Contents
Connections between Spirituality and Sustainability
Cristian Bogan Onete, Sonia Budz and Ioana Teodorescu ………………………………………………

1


Synergies of Longevity / Silver Economy and Senior Entrepreneurship for a Sustainable
Society. The Case of Romania
Mariana Drăgușin, Mirela Octavia Sîrbu, Raluca Mariana Grosu and Alina-Elena Iosif ….

23

Exploring Gender Differences in Leadership: Cultural and Social Issues in Romania
Andreea Simona Săseanu, Mihai Adrian Felea and Daniel Ion Zgură ……………………………..

39

Organic vs. Conventional Food in Romania: An Overview of the Buying Decision
Magdalena Bobe, Maria - Alexandra Toma and Roxana Procopie ………………………………….

57

The Supremacy of Superficial Forms of Culture in the Preferences of the Young Consumer – a Dominant Characteristic of the Nowadays Consumer Society
Lelia Voinea, Dorin Vicențiu Popescu and Teodor Mihai Negrea …………………………………….

75

Higher Education in Romania.Trends, Analysis and Statistics
Silvius Stanciu, Roxana Sârbu, Doru Alexandru Pleșea and Raluca Crina Bucur ……...........

97

An Empirical Evaluation of a Business Administration Bachelor Program
Cristinel Vasiliu, Irina Albăstroiu, Răzvan Dina and Mihaela Bucur …………………………………

115


Using Colors for Efficient Problem Solving in Learning
Irina Maiorescu, Smaranda Giușcă and Gabriel Cristian Sabou ………………………………………

131

Innovation for Companies - Increased Application by Better Understanding its Particularities
Rodica Pamfilie, Robert Bumbac and Andra Vasilcovschi ………………………………………………

147

Startup Assistance Organizations: Performance Influence Factors and Metrics
Ioana Ceaușu, Marieta Olaru, Gregor Weber and Markus Bodemann …………...................

165

Risk Management Methods: FMEA and its Influence on Risk Handling Costs
Ruxandra Maria Mateescu (Bejinariu), Vasile Dinu and Mihaela Maftei ………………………..

183

Derivation of a Modified Technology Acceptance Model for the Application on Self-driving Cars in a Car-sharing- model Based on Qualitative Research
Wiebke Geldmacher, Vanessa Just, Benjamin Grab and Andreas Kompalla …………………..

197


Cristian Bogan Onete
Sonia Budz
Ioana Teodorescu


Connections between
Spirituality and
Sustainability

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, part of Springer Nature 2019
˘
L. Tachiciu
et al. (Hrsg.), Building Engagement for Sustainable Development,
Sustainable Management, Wertschöpfung und Effizienz,
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-658-26172-6_1


2

Connections between Spirituality and Sustainability

Abstract.
In our society, people focus more on sustainability, spirituality and quality. They
reached a level of awareness where the durability of things is compulsory in the daily
society. This awareness is due to the emphathy towards nature, future generations
and for the evolution of a healthy society by all means. This applies to business as well.
More and more companies adopt and develop strategies that take into account this
level of awareness, promoting the spiritual side and the sustainable outcome. These
organisations form communities which assimilate new information better due to the
openess towards a muticultural environment, and thanks to technology, the performance and sustainability is increasing. The new trends are spirituality and sustenability. Because they are completing, one does not exist without the other. The purpose
of this paper is to deepen our understanding about the importance of spirituality in
our communities and organisations, and to understand its connections to sustainability. This paper is useful for entrepreneurs, employees and all individuals involved in
different businesses.
Keywords: Spirituality, sustainability, awareness, business, trust, values, quality, evolution, commitment, success, community, performance.



Introduction

1

3

Introduction

The instant access of information changed the society’s perception with regards to the
surrounding environment and the quality of life. Multicultural environments interact
through the medium of technology, allowing people and organizations to be more
open and receptive to new approaches, and decreasing the consumption of raw physical materials as well. These new approaches, that bring many benefits, are linked to
spirituality and sustainability. They are starting to take amplitude due to the necessity
of continuously change, the latter being the nature of evolution.
Individuals began to acknowledge their spiritual nature and started to implement it in
their daily rutines, including work. Trying to maintain this balance, they are more concerned and interested in every aspect of their lives. Therefore, organizations have to
comply to the communities demands, as well taking into consideration the effects of
their actions on the environment. Inclusively, on their own initiative or not, they
started to promote these kinds of approaches, forming well rooted cultures in their
offices.
The world gave the start to awareness, knowledge, innovation and solutions, in order
to replace the old with the new, similar to a domino game, which will bring outstanding changes in the future to come.
The essential points of this chapter are the following:
1. To understand that spirituality is connected and can be adapted to everything.
2. To be aware of the impact of sustainability upon quality, businesses, technology
and individuals.
3. To acknowledge that these concepts are interconnected and could lead to
performance in organisations and society.

4. To clarify that organisational multicultural environments have a positive impact
on individuals.


4

2

Connections between Spirituality and Sustainability

Spirituality and sustainability

Spirituality is a concept that is related to religion. In general, it defines the relationship
with the divinity. From another point of view, it has been theorized in related fields
like psychology, philosophy, sociology and business. Starting from the basic sense of
the relation with God and the church, its sense has been extended of what means the
human spirit, being associated with human intelligence.
In the Brundtland Report, sustainability is defined as the ability to continue a definite
behavior over an unlimited period of time. Environmental sustainability is the ability
to maintain rates of renewable resource harvest, pollution creation, and non-renewable resource depletion that can be continued indefinitely. Economic sustainability is
the ability to support a defined level of economic production indefinitely. Social sustainability is the ability of a social system, such as a country, to function at a defined
level of social wellbeing indefinitely. Sustainable development is the development that
meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their owns.
2.1 Theoretical frames of spirituality and sustainability
The origin of spirit comes from the latinesque “spiritus”, equivalent with ideal, immaterial, soul, and intellectual. Moreover, spirituality appears to be connected in modern
society with the cultural background of a nation. Apart from defining the personal beliefs and values of an individual, it is obvious that spirituality is an important indicator
to emphasize traditions and specific culture for local communities and people. Recent
studies demonstrate that people who seek spiritual information or are more religious
are characterized by a lower percent of risk to become addicted to vices like drugs or
alcohol, to suffer from depression or to think of suicide. In this way, spirituality works

as a guide for physical and mental health against the development of certain diseases
by having always a positive state of mind.
Nowadays, spirituality related to religion is not seen only by parishioners as respecting
only certain practices and rules imposed by one’s cult. From personal consideration, a
person who is especially one who is a regular churchgoer, it does not mean that is
spiritual. It is not enough to respect a set of practices or beliefs related to super human
beings. At the core of all religions, being spiritual is reflected in the way of living. It is
a state of mind and act in life. Moreover, the most important thing is to have faith and
believe, to have the sense of doing good deeds and are afraid of the judgement of


Spirituality and sustainability

5

God. As literature reviewers have developed confusing definitions between significance of religion, spirituality and faith, contemporary society concentrates more on
spiritual knowledge. More specific, the inhabitants of a particular church parish seek
the sacred in activities like praying and meditation. But the most evident guideline
related to being religious and spiritual, it is to have the measure of things. This can be
explained by having a balanced lifestyle and not being people of extremes.
In terms of sociology, spirituality explains the social needs of a community. It embodies the notion of acting together and understand values like reciprocity and care for
people next to us. This is the foundation from being part of a group and sharing common interests, needs and beliefs with others. Being spiritual in the common life means
to create an attachment not for things and objects around, but for people in the community and dear ones.
Newman (2004) describes religion, spirituality and faith as being three concepts with
different roles and functions in society. In his vision, faith is the foundation for spirituality and religion, more in detail these two concepts are indicators of the depth of
faith. Spirituality is an important part of our daily life, concentrating on our inner beliefs and thoughts. It can be interpeted as the reflection of ourselves in society, by
bringing to light our interior perspective based on our personal values of how we perceive people and the outer world around us, and how we put into practice what we
feel and think. Our spiritual side is an input of our proper vision based on our guideline
of beliefs, thoughts and ideas, and the output of it, a result of its value and mission,
with a theoretical but also practical applicability in our daily life.

Stead and Stead (2004) think that corporations play a huge role in environmental sustainability solutions. Firstly, organisations are the principal engines of economic
growth. Secondly, they have technological knowledge, financial resources, and institutional capacity to implement solutions. Thirdly, the environmental sustainability examination at the organisational level of analysis is suitable for the scale of the existing
problems and needs further examination as well. But organisations are only one aspect of sustainability. Consumers and governments must be ready and willing to participate.
Empathizing and identifying with the inter-relationships and inter-dependencies between all beings on Earth, is the key of success, and the natural way of being, identifying with life itself as the central scope. In adopting this way of being, it is beneficial
that the future impact of the corporations on the environment, needs to be positive


6

Connections between Spirituality and Sustainability

and if not positive, neutral. This principle is available at local, national, international,
global levels and it is mandatory to be adopted by all corporations within a given network – manufacturers, suppliers, retailers, distributors and all stakeholders in order
for it to work at optimal parametres. Individuals’ current way of life and “quality of
life” are clearly under threat but, despite these reminders, there are numerous business opportunities waiting to be taken up by organisations that are willing to be true
leaders in identifying and managing new products, services, ideas, and new values,
consumer cultures and behaviours. Lovins (2007) thinks that the winners in the innovative business world will displace and replace presents players who have rejected the
necessary changes in order to adapt to the new business or natural way of being; a
way that actually holds the potential to increase people’s current standards of life rather than diminish them. More and more businesses subsumed business ethics and
social responsability literature regarding sustainability and environmental issues. Borland (2009) said that, tangentially, more authors have begun to discover and recognise
the principal significance of the environment in maintaining all human activities and
particularly business activity as a separate and important area of consideration.
Doubtessly, private sector corporate agendas currently abound with durability and climate change priorities, projects and practices, as organisations begin to acknowledge
more openly their dependence on Earth’s surface and atmosphere exploitation.
Sustainability comes along with quality as well. The latter, being an aspect of sustainability. The Oxford Dictionary defines quality as “the standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind; the degree of excellence of something”.
Better quality feedback encourages entrepreneurs to improve their products and services, which leads towards long-lasting and better working products, resulting sustainability.
2.2

The connection between spirituality and sustainability


Spirituality is all about being counscious. When individuals increase their level of counsciousness, they start to be aware of the inner and outside worlds. They begin to accept and emphatize with the surrounding environments. From spirituality results intelligence, progress, innovation, self protection, quality, preservation and conservation of things. Spirituality is the key of a healthy society by all means, it is the engine
of sustainability.


Spirituality and sustainability

7

The German author, sociologist and founder of the Denken der Zukunft (Future Thinking), Bernard Mutius, said that “people need a second enlightenment”, and must learn
to think and feel in new ways.
Due to the changes in the environment caused by pollution, waste and so on, an
awareness has emerged upon individuals, resulting a more attentive and careful behaviour towards the environment and all beings who complete it. They feel the necessity to protect and preserve it, being counscious that everything is interconnected,
affecting the whole system, including them.
The spiritual fruit of arranged progress should make way for sustainable living standards, cultural and intellectual capital, adequate food production, means of livelihood,
health care and wiser energy consumption. Cultures should be respected with regards
to their history, sense of identity, heritage of individuals from different cultures linked
in global organizational interdependence; local customs, religious practices, languages
are increasingly honored. These fruits of the Spirit disclose in definite modalities within
the impacted corporations and those related in change. Results such as greater inclusiveness, decision making, sharing of power, strengthening of local families and communities, lessening of frivolous consumption, profit-sharing, lessening of hierarchies,
environmental sustainability, fair and accessible grievance procedures, and so on. The
list can go on.
2.3 The linkage of spiritual intelligence and spiritual capital with business practices
In terms of business, spirituality has been interpreted to be related with management
or leadership. Moreover, at an organisational level is the spiritual intelligence of leaders and employees. The notion of spiritual intelligence has gained popularity in the
recent years, being part of the trilogy of multiple intelligences along with the intellectual and emotional one. Emmons (2000) describes five functions attributed to spiritual
intelligence:
a. the ability of a person to overcome his/her own limits and to pass over a state
of mediocrity in real life;
b. the capacity to experience profound spiritual states of mind;
c. the power to seek in daily life the sacred;

d. the ability to use spiritual resources to solve problems during life;
e. the capacity to be aware of moral values.


8

Connections between Spirituality and Sustainability

In one brief definition related to the spiritual capital at individual and organization
level, Liu (2008) focuses on how spiritual beliefs, knowledge and practices affect and
influence individuals and businesses. In other terms, spiritual capital is seen in relation
to spirituality as a latent variable that can be measured through three categories of
indicators: spiritual belief, spiritual knowledge and spiritual practice. The spiritual capital is a concept that has been strongly debated in the last decades from several points
of views, as it appears to interfere in certain fields of research like religion, psychology,
economy and philosophy. Primarily, the spiritual capital derives from the religious capital. For an individual, it is the result of morality, hapiness and life satisfaction. In addition to moral values, it expresses positive indicators like honesty, love, trust, loyalty,
fairness etc., in one sintagme, it defines all good moral values that a human being
should use as guidance in life. The spiritual capital also reveals negative indicators like
corruption, cheating, wickedness, jealousy etc., that are to be avoided.
Palmer & Wong (2013) refer to spiritual capital as of “the effects of spiritual and religious practices, beliefs, networks and institutions that have a measurable impact on
individuals, communities and societies”. Practically they have created a definition that
covers all complementary fields that are origins for spirituality. The role of spirituality
evolves from a micro to a macro level. It leaves from a personal and individual point,
and, as human beings create new societies and communities, spirituality is transformed to a macro level, based on sharing and having the feeling of belonging. Therefore, at this level, it impacts governments, institutions and nations by becoming a
guide on how people should behave and integrate in society by their insight spirit and
inner life.
The spiritual capital is a concept that involves the quantification of the value to individuals, groups and the society of spiritual inspiration and practice. Proponents liken
it to other forms of capital, including material capital (or financial capital), intellectual
capital, and social capital. The management consultant and philosopher Danah Zohar
defines it as the value of personal, social or cultural beliefs and meanings that stimulates creativity, encourages moral behavior and motivates individuals.
As basic concept, the spiritual capital is associated with the vision, mission and values

of a company. In fact, the spiritual capital is a theoretical improvement for other forms
of material, intellectual, cultural but also social capital. It is rather understandable
from Donah Zohar's theory, that an individual relates to a motivational value system,
which stimulates creativity and positions it towards morality.


Spirituality and sustainability

9

In terms of business, passing over the fact of entrepreneurs being spiritual leaders,
and businesses being based at organisational level, on a set of moral values that generates a proper behavior of human resource, furthermore spirituality implies the connection, as it is a recent trend, between businesses, communities and civic spirit. Nowadays corporations focus on social responsibility and business environmental marketing. Kotler (2012) defines social responsability as satisfying present needs of consumers and businesses, while preserving and developing the ability of future generations
to fulfill their own needs. This attitude is a part of spirituality, by caring about others,
mainly linked with one of the ten commandments of the Bible: “Do not testify or fear
false witness against your neighbour”. More and more companies have included distinct departments of corporate social responsibility by engaging employees in programs and projects related to volunteering and humanitarian causes for disadvantaged communities.
2.4

Culture and sustainability

Yeo (2005) said that corporate learning propels performance and upholds competitive
advantage in fast changing, dynamic environments. In Nonaka’s opinion (2008), a culture that encourage corporate learning brings many benefits, inclusively creating
knowledge that conclude to innovation. Gallagher (2007) said that learning implies the
interplay of physical, mental and spiritual energies, and learning results are not confined to new innovative knowledge, but comprise new mental, emotional, spiritual
and behavioural structures at individual levels. Learning transmutes individuals in
many ways, from intellectual perspectives of themselves and others to relationships
and behaviours. At the organizational level, learning forms social and organizational
structures. Kontoghiorghes’ (2005) research suggests that a learning culture conducts
to increased financial results and employee stances towards work, but learning initiatives take time to generate positive outcomes, and existing performance measures,
often delay their indicators. Wang’s (2007) existing research examines the role of organizational learning cultures in shifting employee attitudes in terms of organizational
commitment and job satisfaction, but less is known about how the culture impacts

employee knowledge sharing and harbors individual’s spirits.
In order to form a strong culture, companies have to implement rituals among employees, like in spirituality. Strong organisations, with power of influence know that
culture is more important than anything else. Cultural factors have a vital role to play.
Some of the future megatrends in these companies are sustainability, wellness, technology, mobility, globalisation, learning, knowledge, cult offices.


10

3

Connections between Spirituality and Sustainability

Contemporary trends in workplaces

As businesses face new challenges in a global economic turnaround where young generations migrate from one workplace to another very fast. Their needs and requirements to the workplace are higher, as the digital era evolves more and more through
the internet and online channels. Customers, as well are becoming more selective and
exigent in the decison-making process, resulting difficulty in establishing long-term relationships. Therefore, it is imposed to find new ways and methods to bring back the
importance of the human factor role in a business.
3.1

Integrating spirituality at the workplace

Thinking of what spirituality means in all related areas, businesses have found it interesting to enlighten more and more in their processes and activities. As people seek
online spiritual information, and globally spiritual websites have raised a strong industry, companies thought more to burst out on the aspect of non-material benefits for
their employees. Apart from an attractive salary package, corporations offer a set of
non-material advantages that can assure a healthy state of mind of their employees.
The possibility to subscribe free of charge to yoga and meditation classes, to have a
medical insurance to the private medical system, or to participate to trainings or
courses related to personal and spiritual development. There are all seen as benefits
that may increase motivation towards the workplace.

More or less, this can be considered a good strategy to help employees think about
the spiritual side of life. But regarding the macro level, economy statistics of developing and underdeveloping countries, show a negative ratio in terms of income/expenses. Therefore, passing this aspect to a micro level, people tend to be stressed out
when there is little money. In this context, even though employers promote a balanced
professional-personal life through non-material benefits, employees tend to care
more of financial aspects, as they have families and current expenditures and consumption. Little of them learn to appreciate the spiritual part of the benefits at their
workplace.
Businesses are not just about profit, because profit is made and increased if humanism
is respected. Spirituality emphasizes the human values that everyone should have in
mind for a quality life, that is “a great deal on the state of one’s mind”.


Contemporary trends in workplaces

11

As being said above, people tend not to appreciate the non-material benefits, like
“spiritual techniques, such as yoga, meditation, and simple breathing exercises that
can eliminate stress, increase energy levels, and improve mental clarity and creativity”.
Moreover, is perfeclty known that every organization has specific goals and KPIs (key
performance indicator) to measure employees’ engagement and commitement to
work. People in these organizations react and show performance in their daily tasks,
if they are treated individual, and not as a team. Apparently, teamwork does not affect
or improve their work performance. In terms of spirituality related to work performance, employees affirm that expressing their inner values, being encouraged to seek
a liant between their own values and the employer, having an emotional commitment
with their activity, and a sense of community with others, improve their performance.
Social experts developed the subject of spirituality at the workplace around the stress
caused to employees by corporation downsizing and reorganization charts, employees
searching for constancy in an unstable workplace, frequent changes due to new
techonologies etc.
In terms of seeking spirituality among businesses, in the vision of Palmer and Wong

(2013), there are five components to be considered:
1. subjective experience;
2. social support;
3. cosmology;
4. organizational culture;
5. values and principles.
Regarding the corporate style, more and more of them are confronting virtual distance
and multicultural workplaces. In the model delivered by Lojeski and Reilly (2008), virtual distance is separted in three areas: physical, affinity and operational distance.
In what concerns affinity distance, this element is linked to spirituality at the workplace. Affinity is seen by respecting and learning about cultural background of colleagues, participating to social activities related to work, creating relationship with
customers and stakeholders and interdepence with others.
As it is presented in Figure 1, the average of commitment and engagement to workplace in the European Union is about 24,5%. The most engaged and commited employees in Europe are the Austrians, who gained after the survey, 35,40%. In what


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Connections between Spirituality and Sustainability

concerns the Romanian employees, these ones are over the average, and their implication and dedication to professional development being around 30%. The laziest employees tend to be those from Ireland, having the lowest percentage in the chart,
14,5%. The commitment and engagement come from what companies offer in terms
of trust to their employees. The board must offer confidence, managers should be
motivational and inspiring, as they play the key role to commit and engage employees.

Fig. 1. The commitment and engagement level of employees in the European Union. Measurıng
the human side of business (2015)

In the multicultural environments, the spiritual side must be taken closely into consideration as we are talking about people collaborating and having specific behaviours,
due to certain cultural backgrounds. This aspect leads to inspire leadership, reduce
bureaucracy, less micro-managament applied, and value specialists.
Another important aspect that is close to spirituality when working in a multicultural
organization, it is to be an active listener and respect and learn about the traditions

imposed by other cultures. The body language, the gestures, the forms of greeting,
the way of using writing in the virtual distance, can mean different things in one’s culture. This is why it is so important to create value-exchange by interpreting, assuming
and judging in the right way.


Contemporary trends in workplaces

3.2

13

Corporate responsability stages

Mirvis and Googins (2006) have created a model of corporate responsability ‘‘stages’’
(including both envionmental and social facets of sustainability). The idea, found in the
research of ripen children, groups, and systems of all types, including business organizations, is that there are different patterns of activity at various points of development. These activities become more intricate and sophisticated as growth progresses
and therefore capacities to reply to environmental challenges raise in kind. Piaget’s
(1969) developmental theory, for example, has children progress through levels that
imply more complex way of thinking and finer discernment about how to bergain the
outside social world. Wheelan (2004) said that groups mature along a developmental
path as they confront challenges of task and emotional nature that demand more socially sensitive interaction and complex problem solving. Greiner (1972), in his groundbreaking research, found that firms develop more complicated ways of doing things at
different levels of growth as well. They must, over time, find course after their creative
launching stage, develop infrastructures and systems to take on responsibilities, and
then confront the challenges of over-control and red-tape within management and
later collaboration across work units and levels. Companies develop gradually more
sophisticated ways of operating with regards to sustainability and coporate social responsability (CSR). The levels of development premised from an elementary to an increasingly more engaged, integrated, innovative, and creative edge. A gamechanging
approach regarding sustainability and CSR, rises from continuous interaction between
a company and its environment, that urges organizational learning. At each level, a
firm’s engagement with societal problems is gradually more open and its affairs with
stakeholders are more mutual and interactive.

In Schwab’s opinion (2008), the way companies perceive sustainability and CSR, becomes more complex. The organizational structures, systems and processes used to
administer corporate responsibilities are more complex and lined up with the everyday businesses. The development of sustainability and CSR in firms, is a stage-by-stage
process, whereby a apposition of internal capabilities affixed to environmental and
social challenges pushes development forward in a more or less regulative path. These
challenges centre on a company’s credibility as a responsible firm, then on its competences to align to the stakeholders’ expectations, pursued by endeavours to build coherence among its many activities, and finally, on the extent of its implication to operate as a global corporate citizen.


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3.3

Connections between Spirituality and Sustainability

Organisations and sustainability

There has been an extensive growth of interest, and preoccupation for, corporate governance, in terms of sustainability. Organisation’s activities have impact upon the external environment and should, thus, be accountable to an extensive audience than
just its shareholders. These concerns were stated by Ackerman (1975) who argued
that big businesses recognized the need to adapt to a new social climate of community
accountability, but that the trends of businesses to financial outcomes were inhibiting
social responsiveness. McDonald and Puxty (1979) on the other hand, maintain that
firms are not just instruments of shareholders, but exist within society and implicitly
they have responsibilities towards society, and that there is a shift towards greater
accountability of firms to all participants. Included within this concern regarding the
effects on external environments of the doings of an organisation, is the acknowledgement that there are not just the owners of the organisation who have concerns with
the actions of that organisation. There are a variety of other stakeholders who justifiably have a preoccupation with those activities and are affected by those actions.
Other stakeholders are not just interested in the activities of the company but in a
degree of influence over the framing of those activities as well. This impact is so considerable that it can be argued that the influence and power of these stakeholders’
weighs to quasi-ownership of the organization. Rubenstein (1992) argues that there is
a necessity for a social contract between a business and its stakeholders. Momentous
to this contract is a concern for the future that has become evident through the term

sustainability. The term sustainability has become omipresent both within the discussion of globalisation and within the discussion of corporate performance. Crowther
(2002) said that sustainability is a controvertible topic and there are lots of definitions
of what is meant by the term. In general, sustainability is concerned with the effect
which action taken in the present has upon the options available in the future. If resources are used in the present, then they are no longer available afterwards in the
future, and this is a concern with regards to finite resources in quantity. Extractive
nature raw materials, such as oil, coal, and iron, are finite in terms of quantity and
once used are no longer available for the future. Alternatives will be needed at some
point in the future in order to fulfil the current functions of these resources. This will
take place in the relatively distant future but of more urgent concern is the fact that
as resources are consumed, then the cost of acquiring the remaining ones incline to
increase, and therefore the operational costs of organisations incline to increase. In
Hawken’s opinion (1993), sustainability implies that society must utilize just renewable resources. This can be defined in terms of the carrying capacity of the ecosystem
and described with input-output models of resource consumption. For example, the


Contemporary trends in workplaces

15

paper industry has a policy of replanting trees in order to replace those harvested resulting the effect of maintain costs in the present rather than temporally externalising
them. Volkswagen and other motor vehicle manufacturers have a policy of making
their cars recyclable. Greenpeace forced Apple towards innovation in the production
of computers. Apple was demanded to take sustainability into consideration in its
computer production. A campaign was made in which thousands of Apple fans world
wide participated. This pointed the fact that materials should be replaced with green
ones. Steve Jobs presented the green Mac nine months later.
Hart (1997) said that viewing an organisation as part of a wider social and economic
system, implies that these effects must be taken into consideration, not just for the
amount of costs and value already created, but also for the future of the business itself. Such concerns are apposite at a macro level of the whole society, or at the level
of the nation state but are evenly important at the corporation micro level. At this

level, sustainability measures would consider the rate at which resources are spent by
the organisation in relation to the rate at which resources can be regenerated. Unsustainable operations can be accommodated for either by developing sustainable operations or by planning for a future lacking in resources currently required. In practice,
organisations mostly incline to choose sustainability by increasing efficiency in the way
resources are utilised. An example would be an energy efficiency programme. As far
as corporate sustainability is concerned then the confusion is exacerbated by the fact
that the term sustainable has been used in the management literature over the last
30 years (for example Reed and DeFillippi, 1990) to merely imply continuity. Thus
Zwetsloot (2003) is able to conflate corporate social responsibility with the techniques
of continuous improvement and innovation to imply that sustainability is thereby ensured. Hart and Milstein (2003) said that sustainability is a controversial subject due
to its different meanings from individual to individual. There is a further confusion
surrounding the concept of sustainability: for the purist sustainability implies nothing
more than stasis, the ability to continue in an unchanged manner, but often it is taken
to imply development in a sustainable manner and the terms sustainability and sustainable development are for many viewed as synonymous.
Elkington (1994) thought that in business, corporations which implemented and practiced sustainable development were those that incorporated environmental and social
concerns in some of the ways they conducted business. In majority of cases, these
organisations were able to create win–win situations by ‘‘greening’’ the environment
and enhancing their competitive advantage in the process. In Gladwin’s opinion
(1995), sustainability has become a multidimensional concept that extends beyond


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Connections between Spirituality and Sustainability

environmental protection to economic development and social equity. Therefore, successful sustainable entrepreneurs, do not only create profitable enterprises but also
achieve certain environmental and/or social objectives. The field of environmental
sustainability has received increased attention from academics and practioners in the
last years. Initially, much of the writing on this topic came from the field of philosophy,
spirituality, and environmental sciences. Berry (1988) and Van der Ryn and Calthorpe
(1985) present their visions for a sustainable earth and communities. Bernstein (1976)

and Chivian (1993) write about sustainability from the perspective of political theory
and health sciences, respectively. In recent years, the management field has begun to
appreciate the research on sustainability. Hawken (1994) has received wide support
for his vision for a restorative economy in his widely influential book “Ecology of Commerce: A Declaration of Sustainability”. Some other noteworthy publications have included Walley and Whitehead (1994) and Biddle (1993) who have been able to link
business objectives with being ‘‘green’’. Wei-Skillern (2003) said that equally promising are published case studies of large industrial corporations such as BP and Shell who
have made sustainability a key consideration in their corporate strategies.
Over the years, as sustainability has become a broader concept, it has become more
closely related to corporate social responsibility (CSR). Nevertheless, sustainability and
CSR are not synonymous terms. Bowen (1953) for example, demonstrating that CSR is
the older term of the two, dating from the early 1950s. Although it has an abundance
of definitions, Carroll (1999) said that most of them converge around the idea that
companies have obligations to society that go beyond making a profit and obeying the
law. Sustainability, as a term, has gained favor in the recent years because it better
expresses the need to address the vital problems facing the world today. Gladwin
(1995) said that it spotlights the importance of environmental sustainability and further implies that protecting our physical environment for future generations pragmatically cannot be achieved without also providing for people’s social and economic
needs, particularly impoverished third-world populations. Corporations, because of
their control of resources and technology, obviously are critical to any hope of achieving a sustainable world. At the individual company level, sustainability is often characterized and operationalized as meeting the triple bottom line, simultaneously achieving economic, environmental, and social goals.
Pedersen and Neergaard (2006) said that as the debate concerning humankind’s influence on the natural environment has developed, so have approaches to trying to minimize the harm being done. From a business perspective, during the last few decades,


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