7 February 2019

Research pick: The spiritual side of business - "Workplace spirituality: insights from the Bhagavad Gita"

Spirituality is good for the bottom line, according to research from India. Writing in the International Journal of Business Excellence, researchers from Anna University, in Chennai explain how spiritual theories in India are based on the principle of unanimity, integrating physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of people through dharma (righteousness). They point out that the Bhagavad Gita highlights the practice of spirituality and ethics in the workplace. In their paper, they review twenty years of research into the spiritual aspects of business practice in this context and define workplace spirituality from a new perspective. They also delineate its dimensions as a persistent positive state of work environment that promotes spiritual awakening and enhances business ethics.

The team suggests that there is a need for a new wave of spirituality in business suggesting that workers must carry out their tasks not only with their brain and limbs but also with heart and spirit. They add that “Western” thought has often been concerned with spirituality and finding links to “Eastern” philosophy. “Workplace spirituality is applicable to practically every organization,” they suggest, in the West or the East.

The team has extended the theory of the positive relationship between workplace spirituality and business ethics. Indeed, they suggest that supporting and nurturing spiritual practices in an organisation can maximize the “triple bottom line”: people, profit, and planet.

Srilalitha, R. and Supriya, M.V. (2019) ‘Workplace spirituality: insights from the Bhagavad Gita’, Int. J. Business Excellence, Vol. 17, No. 2, pp.210–229.

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