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Spiritual development and meaningful work: A Habermasian critique

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Shoaib Ul Haq


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A dominant theme of the workplace spirituality discourse in HRD is its transformational nature which enables an organization to imbue work with purpose and meaning. Empirical studies have shown that providing meaningful work to employees enhances several indicators of organizational performance. However, this discourse ignores that such organizational interventions are shaped by capitalist power relations in which the organization is embedded. In this paper, I apply a critical theory perspective drawing from the work of Jurgen Habermas to show that workplace spirituality movement has emerged in response to the loss of meanings inherent in neoliberal capitalism. However, since this movement is operating on a logic of performativity and instrumental rationality, it represents an attempt to re-orient individual subjectivity and the spiritual realm of human experience to serve capitalism.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ul-Haq Shoaib

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Human Resource Development International

Year: 2020

Volume: 23

Issue: 2

Pages: 125-154

Print publication date: 01/03/2020

Online publication date: 21/10/2019

Acceptance date: 08/10/2017

ISSN (print): 1367-8868

ISSN (electronic): 1469-8374

Publisher: Taylor & Francis


DOI: 10.1080/13678868.2019.1679570


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