Workplace spirituality and the motivational power of meaningful work: An experimental study

by Kendall, Mumphord H., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2012, 275 pages; 3503074


The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between meaningful work and motivation, in order to help support or refute the business case for workplace spirituality. Workplace spirituality has increased in popularity since the 1980s, and has been the subject of serious scholarly research since the early 1990s. Many claims have been made about its positive benefits. However, there is a paucity of empirical support that workplace spirituality has a causal impact on variables important to organizations, such as productivity and job satisfaction. This study took a quantitative and experimental approach to address this research gap. Participants in this study's experimental exercise were asked to complete a simple task over a set period of time. Some of the participants were not told the reason for their efforts. Others were shown how their work supported the medical needs of severely impoverished people in third world countries. Productivity was measured. Participants then filled out a survey indicating their job satisfaction, gender, age, baseline spiritual perspective, and perceptions of work meaning. A multivariate analysis of covariance technique was used to analyze the data. The results supported the conclusion that within the limited boundaries of the study's experimental setting, meaningful work was linked to significantly increased productivity and job satisfaction. The results regarding spiritual perspective were inconclusive. Gender did not appear to be a factor. These results suggest a number of important implications for management practice and challenge traditional notions of what is appropriate in the modern workplaces. Several new paths for additional research are recommended.

AdviserMartha Hollis
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsManagement; Spirituality; Organizational behavior
Publication Number3503074

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