Publication Date

1999

Abstract

This paper focuses on the role of spirituality in leadership and explores how a harmony between Eastern spirituality and traditional American management values can enhance employee motivation. Research methods include review of current American management books articulating the lack of spirituality in the workplace and additional review of literature of the ancient Eastern philosophy that embraces the importance of spirituality in leadership. To collect additional data, these literature reviews are followed by two sets of semistructured interviews of a small sample of employees and one manager from each of two different organizations. My interview results provide specific spiritual and leadership characteristics employees seek in their managers and the incentives for managers to incorporate spirituality in their leadership. In the data analysis and discussion, the interview results and literature reviews are used to support the idea that what is necessary in the 21st-century workplace is a manager who maintains a healthy balance between a people-oriented, spiritual side and an efficient, task-oriented side. The "Heart at Work" theory is used as a basis for suggested incentives to enhance employee motivation. The research proposes that managers and employees will benefit, both in terms of producing profitable bottom-line results (tangible) as well as instilling a higher level of employee motivation (nontangible), if modern leaders learn to harmoniously incorporate American management techniques and Eastern spirituality in their leadership style. The paper concludes that managers need to invest more time in re-evaluating their company's missions and values and learning to link those corporate values to employee needs for maximum success. This concept and the conclusions presented in this paper should be of benefit not only to modern managers at all levels, but also to educators and students in the intercultural communications field who are learning to incorporate management from multicultural perspectives. Finally, suggestions for future research in the area of spirituality in the workplace are provided.

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