Organizational spiritual normativity as an influence on organizational culture and performance in Fortune 500 firms
The topic of spirituality in the workplace has exploded onto the contemporary business scene over the last 12 years. It is perhaps at once the most compelling and least understood force driving organizational theory and practice today. Previous studies have done little to codify what exactly spirituality in the workplace is, particularly as applied to aggregate organizational contexts. This is ostensibly due to the impossibility of defining a universally embraceable construct of organizational spirituality. Similarly, previous studies have made no attempt to investigate empirically the relationship between organizational spirituality and organizational performance. Theses two gaps in the current theory served as the catalyst for this study, and led to its two driving questions. First, can a universally applicable construct for codifying and measuring organizational spirituality be developed? And secondly, what relationship exists between this measure of organizational spirituality and organizational performance?;The study was conducted with the Fortune 500 as the organizational population. Just over 14% of the firms participated in the study. Data were gathered via a researcher-developed direct-mail survey of the top five senior executives in each of the Fortune 500 firms, and then analyzed to compute an Organizational Spirituality Score (OSS) for each respondent organization. This measure represents each firm's observed Organizational Spiritual Normativity, or the degree to which each firm's overall business activities, individual employee behaviors and beliefs, and commonly employed interventions, practices, and policies reflect congruence with widely-held spiritual norms or standards. The relationship that exists between the Organizational Spirituality Score and long-term revenue growth and profitability was then investigated.;Results support the conclusion that congruence with the construct of Organizational Spiritual Normativity leads to stronger organizational performance. In short, those organizations that are more spiritually normative in their activities are also more profitable. Specifically, the study results showed that those organizations that demonstrate moderate to strong Organizational Spiritual Normativity achieved significantly higher long-term rates of net income growth and return on assets. The study findings did not support the conclusion of a similarly significant relationship existing between Organizational Spiritual Normativity and long-term revenue growth. Further investigation of the relationship between organizational spirituality and organizational performance is warranted, and specific recommendations are offered to this end for both practitioners and researchers.