Spirituality can be described as a state of being in connection with one’s inner self and a higher power, which gives individuals the ability to find meaning and purpose in their lives. It is an invaluable pursuit that provides people with spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental nourishment (Reddy). Despite its numerous benefits, spirituality can present several challenges when practiced in the workplace because of the numerous approaches that people have about its importance. Spirituality is an important practice that can enhance values such as service and compassion. What are some of the challenges that appear when spirituality is shown in a workplace environment?
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Spirituality can cause strife in the workplace because of differences in opinion among employees. As mentioned earlier, people approach spirituality differently about their practice and importance in life (Mitroff and Denton). Some people believe that spirituality is important and should be practiced in the workplace while others believe it is not important and should be avoided in the workplace. Its repulsiveness is primarily caused by its association with religion. Many people consider spirituality as one of the many aspects of religion, and therefore, introducing it at the workplace is considered inappropriate (Reddy). Religions have different approaches to spirituality. In that regard, ideological differences could result in clashes between people at the workplace because each would consider their religion’s approach the best. Each individual would aim to promote their religious beliefs and practices.
One of the potential effects of ideological differences in the development of conflicts between employees, which would hinder effective teamwork and cooperation. The proliferation of spiritual beliefs and practices in a work environment might influence how people look at each other (Mitroff and Denton). For example, people who do not believe in spirituality might develop negative feelings toward the people who practice it at work. Many people believe that spirituality should be dealt with outside work because it is a personal pursuit that should be conducted individually. Therefore, practicing it at work is a way of offending those who do not embrace practices such as prayer and meditation. The development of negative attitudes toward some employees hinders cooperation and renders teamwork ineffective.
Spirituality is an intangible concept that allows individuals to find meaning and purpose in life. However, this intangible nature creates difficulty in the assimilation and internalization of the rituals and practices associated with it (Mitroff and Denton). In that regard, many people perceive it as an attempt to convert them to certain religions that advocate for specific practices that are associated with spirituality. This originates from the belief that spirituality and religion are similar concepts. Certain organizations that promote spirituality create unnecessary rifts because they fail to give employees the freedom to pursue spirituality individually (Mitroff and Denton). As a result, employees may feel that the promotion of spirituality in the workplace is an intrusion into their personal lives because spirituality is an individual experience and pursuit.
Workplace spirituality is an invaluable concept that can have immense physical, emotional, and mental benefits if implemented properly. However, it can also present several challenges because of people’s varying opinions and differences in ideologies. People might feel disrespected by the overt practice of spirituality at the workplace and as a result, develop negative attitudes toward others. This could affect their relationships and render teamwork ineffective.
Mitroff, Ian I., and Elizabeth Denton. “A Study of Spirituality in the Workplace.” MITSloan Management Review, 1999, Web.
Reddy, Chitra. “Spirituality in the workplace: Pros and Cons.” Wisestep, Web.