Publication Date

1999

Abstract

This thesis explores how women in academia "hold" both their spiritual and academic lives. It examines the assumptions about valid knowledge which exist in U.S. educational institutions, and explores how earlier research on women's development and the nature of intelligence can be supplemented with an understanding of spiritual worldview to broaden the scope of scholastically acceptable knowledge. The primary research questions address how women define their spiritual and academic worldviews, how these perspectives have been developed and sustained over time, and whether their spiritual lives have been visible and integrated (or invisible and separated) during their personal and professional lives. Finally, the thesis explores how assumptions about valid knowledge, inquiry, and action affects intercultural management. This was a qualitative research project which interviewed women in their 50s and 60s who had worked in academia over several decades. The interviews were supplemented by readings in women's development and the nature of intelligence and knowledge. Further literature included women health care practitioners/teachers who were allopathically trained and also wove spiritual practices into their approaches. Distinct worldviews emerged when the women were asked to define both the academic and spiritual dimensions of their lives. The spiritual dimension was generally less visible and integrated in their academic environments, although some women experienced integration (over time) in specific scholastic pockets (the individual classroom, grant projects). This indicated less inclusion in the broader academic discourse. The challenge for the intercultural manager then becomes how to access and incorporate less visible, non-dominant worldviews to increase creative approaches within an organization. Generating a respectful and inclusive environment and providing low-risk opportunities for people to express ideas are starting points.

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