A framework for accommodating religion and spirituality in the workplace
MNCs seeking to engage in the Indian economy are attracted by the intellectual capital of this diverse nation.
I examine the presence of religion in the Indian workplace through cultural values, beliefs and management practices and their impact on IHRM practices in managing diversity.
Religious diversity has created much political conflict and bloodshed in society at large (e.g.
the recent blasts in Mumbai), but many differences have been reconciled in the workplace over time.
The practice of spirituality through meditation, visioning, or spiritual contemplation has become increasingly prevalent in the United States work environment and has remained less controversial and less subject to regulation as an employee rights issue than formal religion.
Those practicing formal religion want the same opportunities and rights provided to employees who practice spirituality.
Carole Jurkiewicz of Louisiana State University and Robert Giacalone of the University of North Carolina identify a set of ten values associated with such spirituality: benevolence, integrity, justice, mutuality, receptivity, respect, responsibility, trust, generativity (i.e., concern with future generations), and humanism (i.e., seeking to bring about the greater good of humanity).
The Association for Spirit at Work can be found at The article “A New Spirit at Work” can be found at ncemonitor.com/2003/1117/p14s03A portion of the article “The Many Delicate Issues of Spirituality in the Office” can be found at s/display.php?Spirituality, on the other hand, is viewed as both personal and universal.” The latter tends to mean “a total sense of connectedness in the universe; belief in a deity, and in a moral obligation to do good in the world.”Others see workplace spirituality as having less to do with religious faith than with a desire to bring a different set of values into the work environment.From this perspective, workplace spirituality becomes more about espousing and managing value systems than about creating diversity programs for people with traditional religious beliefs.“We see a lot of activity in companies like P&G, Hewlett-Packard, Texas Instruments, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, and others,” said David Miller, executive director of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture. companies, where an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 corporate chaplains now minister to workers.Other corporate programs include meditation rooms, company-sponsored classes and even faith-based employee assistance programs (EAPs). But some scholars make an important conceptual distinction between spirituality and religion.
Gray state that distinctions among “religious beliefs, spiritual experiences, and strongly held, secular value-laden convictions are little more than semantic.”If religious beliefs and spirituality are seen as largely interchangeable, then there’s considerable evidence that spirituality is becoming more important in the workplace.