Journal Article

Spirituality in the Workplace: New Empirical Directions in the Study of the Sacred

Don Grant, Kathleen O'Neil and Laura Stephens

in Sociology of Religion

Published on behalf of Association for the Sociology of Religion

Volume 65, issue 3, pages 265-283
Published in print January 2004 | ISSN: 1069-4404
Published online January 2004 | e-ISSN: 1759-8818 | DOI:
Spirituality in the Workplace: New Empirical Directions in the Study of the Sacred

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In stark contrast to Weber's warnings about bureaucracies parceling out the soul of workers, several popular and business writers claim that “spirituality is exploding in the workplace.” Drawing on recent sociological research on spiritual practices, experiences, and discourse, we scrutinize this claim through a case study of a university hospital's nursing staff. We demonstrate that even in a workplace where a large majority of employees believe that their work practices are spiritual, they experience the sacred in a variety of ways, and are eager to talk about spirituality, many workers may still struggle to find opportunities to practice their spiritual beliefs, they may have other work experiences that cause them to doubt spirituality's relevance, and they may perceive talk about spirituality to be unwelcome. Implications of our findings for future sociological research on the sacred and the debate over secularization are discussed.

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Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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