How is Corporate Social Responsibility related to spirituality and work?


Howis Corporate Social Responsibility related to spirituality and work?

Ethicsis chiefly concerned with the exploration of the question concerningwhat is good in terms of realizing happiness as well as well-being.When considering ethics, it is critical to integrate thejustification for an action that ensures making of morally gooddecisions. The issue of corporate social responsibility andspirituality both constitute the use of ethics therefore, whenapplied in an organization, they must involve the use of ethics.Corporate social responsibility is a business management concept,which concerns the integration of the interests of stakeholders in abusiness model that is, instead of a business considering its profitmotive only, it should also consider the interests of investors,surrounding communities, as well as other parties that the businessmay have upon (Freeman, 2005). In short, corporate socialresponsibility involves the integration of economic, social andenvironmental concerns in a business model. Alternatively,spirituality is a concept that concerns the use of faith or beliefsystem in searching for a sense of connection between human andsomething else it concerns a human experience. In this report, therelationship between corporate social responsibility and spiritualityand work will be discussed.

Inthe management of organizations, corporate social responsibility hasbeen integrated in the business model in order to ensurecompetitiveness of organizations (Crane et al., 2008). For instance,organizations are now considering using ethics in resolvingenvironmental issues that are related to business. An example iswhere a company that manufactures margarine is concerned about itsemissions to the environment and uses different means of mitigatingthe emissions. In such a scenario, the company can be deemed to beconcerned with its business objective of making profits as well asenvironmental concerns. Thus, with the integration of corporatesocial responsibility in a business model ensures that the interests,other than those of the business are put into consideration. Theintegration of corporate social responsibility in a business modelhelps in making stakeholders to have good perception of anorganization, which is critical for developing the brand of a companyas well as enhancing its competitiveness.

Spiritualityis also a common issue in leadership today. According to Fry (2003),spiritual leadership which is through hope, vision, faith andaltruistic love, taps into the significant needs of both followersand leaders for spiritual survival through calling so that theybecome more organizationally committed as well as productive. A mainproposition of this viewpoint is that spiritual leadership offers theethical content in terms of the values that emphasize on the issuesof standards and the criteria of conduct that results in positivehealth, ethical and spiritual well-being. Spiritual leadershipinfluences followers to use ethical values in his/her conduct, whichshould be deemed to focus on the well-being of all individuals.

Mostresearch studies have an assumption that spirituality enhances themoral climate as well as moral behavior of organizational members,but occasionally provide conclusions concerning how this is in aposition to sustain social responsibility. Nevertheless, theconnection amid the two concepts may not be very obvious at first. Atthe roots of the two concepts, both attempts to chase a differentpurpose. Spirituality comprises an inner, individual process ofself-enquiry and development as an individual strives for an ultimateconcern that entails nature, God, humanity, the Good, the Self or anycombination of these. Alternatively, corporate social responsibilityentails managing an organization according to the rights and needs ofstakeholders, which ensures taking into account the long-termrepercussions of organizational activity on the natural and socialenvironment. Therefore, spirituality is chiefly inward-looking,personal and relational while corporate social responsibility isoutward-looking as well as organizational. Hence, corporate socialresponsibility and spirituality are different, but they are notnecessarily divergent.

Accordingto Bubna-Litic (2009), corporate social responsibility andspirituality at work can be considered to be interpenetratingconcepts which share a denial of a modernist, rationalistic,technology-based philosophy of embracing a more sensible, sensitiveand relationship-based world perspective. This being the situation,corporate social responsibility is considered to approach markets andbusiness like a web of human relationships that depends on people’strust in the honesty of other players. Bubna-Litic is of the opinionthat this is sufficient to make a conclusion that corporate socialresponsibility and spirituality at work converge or have arelationship. The converging point of corporate social responsibilityand spirituality at work is that both concepts extend the scope ofgoing beyond what is good for an organization and invite thereflection of the fine connections of individuals, organization,society, and nature. Although some aspects of Bubna-Litic’sperspective are shared in the field, the perspective is somehowlimited when it comes to complex relationship amid corporate socialresponsibility and spirituality at the workplace (Bubna-Litic, 2009).Therefore, the relationship of the two concepts can be looked into ingreater details through the integration of existing models thatincorporate both concepts.

Oneof the models that postulate a relationship amid the spirituality atwork and corporate social responsibility is the Fry’s model. TheFry’s model is usually presented in three-fold first, the leaderdevelops a vision which offers organizational members a sense ofmeaning as well as purpose. Second, the leader creates anorganizational culture that is based on the value of altruistic love,where leaders genuinely care for other individuals and attempt todevelop a sense of community, where people feel understood andappreciated. This dimension encourages faith and hope. Third, in thecontext of an organization, hope or faith is deemed as the source ofunlimited belief that the vision that is articulated by the leaderwill occur as will rewards accompanying this outcome.

Throughsummarizing the hypothesized relationships amid the two components,Fry (2003) develops an intrinsic motivational causal model ofspiritual leadership. In the model, the leader creates a compellingvision, which produces a sense of calling that is, offers followersa feeling of achieving a difference and a life which comprises ofmeaning beyond the ego. In the model, faith/hope adds the confidencethe vision as well as any corresponding rewards can be achievedregardless of any setbacks and results that may face the followers inachieving the vision. Alternatively, altruistic love, offered fromthe organization and obtained from followers chasing a common vision,eliminates anger, fear, pride and a sense of failure, and develops aculture where people have a sense of communal membership.

Eventually,the objective of the spiritual leadership is to develop vision aswell as value congruence across an individual, empowered team andlevels of organization to promote both higher levels of productionand organizational commitment. Later, in 2005, Fry advanced the ideathat spiritual leadership is also a predicting factor of corporatesocial responsibility. The spiritual leader conversion process fromformalized and standardized organization applies vision andvalues-driven approach which should eventually promote corporatesocial responsibility. The shift is usually facilitated throughcreating a vision, where followers or/and leaders can commenceactions that serve chief stakeholders, all who have a genuinestrategic and moral chance in the performance of an organization.This is different to the shareholder value approach, which measuresresults based on share price only. According to Fry (2003), spiritualleadership can be seen as a necessary but unfinished solution forcompanies in the present changing world. Fry’s model is illustratedin the figure that follows

Source:Fry (2005)

Lips-Wiersma&amp Nilakant (2008) argue that spirituality at workplace goesbeyond the limitations of the principal economic paradigm. Accordingto their viewpoint, corporate social responsibility has an aim ofmitigating the adverse outcomes of economic theories of organizationspredominant in a neo-liberal framework nevertheless, it is notadequate to challenge the assumptions that are obtained fromself-interest and shareholder value maximization that have resultedin serious social, economic and environmental dysfunctions. This isto indicate that corporate social responsibility is a prisoner of aconstricted view of enlightened self-interest, which constitutesethics that depend on its economic returns. In contrast,spirituality-based views seem to provide a feasible alternative tothe neo-liberal philosophy because they focus on going beyond theegoistic state and moves towards a more communitarian and holisticunderstanding of the individual as well as society. Corporate socialresponsibility without spirituality at work fails to deliver itspromises.

Further,Lips-Wiersma &amp Nilakant claim that spirituality at work needs towork with and offer meaning to the pressures which emerge from actingaccording to a purpose above profit in a neo-liberal businessenvironment. Spirituality requires that people should help and notengage in harming others, and individuals should advance their endseven if it is at their own expense. Spiritual freedom results fromgoing beyond self-interests while economic freedom is, at best,enlightened self-interest. Spirituality at work shifts the focus fromself-interest to practical compassion, which is a state wherecompanies are willing to forgo their self-interest so as to commit togoals that focus on benefiting humanity as a whole (Lips-Wiersma &ampNilakant, 2008).

Inestablishing the relationship between corporate social responsibilityand spirituality at work it is important to indicate that there areno true ethical or spiritual commitments that can exist without thewill of an individual. Organizations need to pay very much attentionthat they do currently to the morale of their employees sinceindividuals have important effects on collectives (Lips-Wiersma,2003). Although spiritual awakening may occur in groups, it is alwaysthe experience of an individual that connects the individual to thewhole.

Ithas been suggested that greater spiritual awareness has the capacityof sustaining socially responsible behavior in an organization.Within the context of organizational management, spiritual valueshave been believed to increase well-being and improve individualdevelopment so as to improve the overall organizational climatethrough reinforcing pro-social values like trust and understanding,and to guide reflection in establishing a constructive interactionamid individual agents and collectives (Idowu et al., 2015). Althoughit is believed that spirituality extends and supports corporatesocial responsibility, discussion has been raised concerning thescope of that relationship. It has been suggested that althoughspirituality supports corporate social responsibility, it ismanipulative. Also, it has been argued that spiritual values may losetheir moral credentials in case they are used instrumentally inincreasing work efficiency as well as organizational productivity.

Itis worth noting that a non-challenging approach to corporate socialresponsibility is favorable to compromise that will not provide theinterests of the society. According to Vallance (1993), businesses asbusinesses do not need to be worried about the spiritual condition oftheir workers, but they must be worried about their actions. Theinterest of the business is in good conduct more than in clearconsciousness of an individual’s interconnectedness to everythingstrengthens moral values as well as moral commitment, which allow formore consistent and sincere moral conduct. It can be considereddangerous if not counter-productive, in case organizations ignore thespiritual and moral conscience of their employees and attempt tofocus on meager compliance.

Fromthe two models that combine corporate social responsibility andspirituality at work discussed above, it is apparent thatspirituality at work rejuvenates and extends corporate socialresponsibility in accordance to humanistic and spiritual concerns.However, it can easily be indicated that this association riskscorruption in case it is left in the hands of organizational leadersno matter how well-intentioned they may be. The practical compassionapproach is sustainable in case individuals fully understand andembrace it. Although leaders have a role to play, there is a concernwith the potential excesses of a leader-based view of spiritualdevelopment. Businesses need to pay much closer consideration to themorale and moral character of their employees since individuals tendto have significant impacts on collectives.

Theevidence that the two resources Fry (2005) and Lips-Wiersma &ampNilakant (2008), provide is scientific research. This is because theauthors of the resources have engaged in research in trying to findout whether there is a divergence or convergence of the concepts ofcorporate social responsibility and spirituality and work. Theevidence is considered a scientific research because the authors haveconsidered discussing the concepts using models. The evidence fromthese two sources offers sufficient justifications for theirposition. In case a further research was to be conducted concerningthese two concepts, I would want to know which effect would be largerto an organization integrating spirituality and corporate socialresponsibility in an organization or using corporate socialresponsibility alone in the management of an organization.


Ininvestigating the relationship amid corporate social responsibilityand spirituality at workplace, two models have been proposed. One ofthe models is the Fry’s model. According to Fry (2005), this modelexists in three-fold first, the leader develops a vision whichoffers organizational members a sense of meaning as well as purpose.Second, the leader creates an organizational culture that is based onthe value of altruistic love, where leaders genuinely care for otherindividuals and attempt to develop a sense of community, where peoplefeel understood and appreciated. This dimension encourages faith andhope. Third, in the context of an organization, hope or faith isdeemed as the source of unlimited belief that the vision that isarticulated by the leader will occur as will rewards accompanyingthis outcome. The other model is the practical compassion whichproposes that spirituality at work needs to work with and offermeaning to the pressures which emerge from acting according to apurpose above profit in a neo-liberal business environment.Spirituality supports corporate social responsibility.


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Lips-Wiersma,M., &amp Nilakant, V. (2008). Practicalcompassion: Toward a critical spiritual foundation for corporateresponsibility. In J. Biberman &amp L. Tischler (Eds.), Spiritualityin Business: Theory Practice, and Future Directions (pp. 51-72).New York: Palgrave Macmillan.