Spirituality and Leadership: An Empirical Review of Definitions, Distinctions, and Embedded Assumptions

UNCP Author/Contributor (non-UNCP co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Dr.. Eric Dent, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP )
Web Site: http://www.uncp.edu/academics/library

Abstract: Spirituality and its relationship to workplace leadership is a compelling issue for management practitioners and researchers. The field of study is still in its infancy and as such is marked by differences in definitions and other basic characteristics. Much of what has been written on this subject has appeared in general, rather than academic publications and consequently may lack rigor. The purpose of this study is to analyze known academic articles for how they characterize workplace spirituality, explore the nexus between spirituality and leadership, and discover essential factors and conditions for promoting a theory of spiritual leadership within the context of the workplace. An emergent process was used to identify and validate eight areas of difference and/or distinction in the workplace spirituality literature: 1.) definition, 2.) connected to religion, 3.) marked by epiphany, 4.) teachable, 5.) individual development, 6.) measurable, 7.) profitable/productive, and 8.) nature of the phenomenon. Eighty-seven scholarly articles were coded for each of these areas. Findings conclude that most researchers couple spirituality and religion and that most either have found, or hypothesize a correlation between spirituality and productivity. The emergent categories offer provocative new avenues for the development of leadership theory.

Additional Information

The Leadership Quarterly 16.5
Language: English
Date: 2005
Spirituality, Leadership, Organizations, Definition, Religion, Assumptions