Spirituality at Work, and its Implications for Leadership and Followership: A Post-structuralist Perspective

Tourish, Dennis and Tourish, Naheed (2010) Spirituality at Work, and its Implications for Leadership and Followership: A Post-structuralist Perspective. Leadership, 6 (2). pp. 207-224. ISSN 1742-7150. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Recent years have witnessed a significant growth of interest in spirituality at work ( SAW), and in particular in spirituality management and leadership development. This article argues that the literature in the area is replete with paradoxes, many of which may be irresolvable. These revolve around how spirituality is defined, with advocates variously stressing its religious dimensions, usually from a Christian perspective, and others articulating a more secular approach focusing on nondenominational humanistic values. Much of the literature assumes that the values of business leaders reflect unitarist rather than sectional interests. In exploring these contradictions, this article adopts a post-structuralist perspective to argue that SAW seeks to abolish the distinction between people's work-based lives on the one hand, and their personal lives and value systems on the other. Influence is conceived in uni-directional terms: it flows from 'spiritual' and powerful leaders to more or less compliant followers, deemed to be in need of enlightenment, rather than vice versa. It enhances the influence of leaders over followers, on the assumption that stable, consistent and coherent follower identities can be manufactured, capable of facilitating the achievement of leaders' goals. We argue that SAW therefore promotes constricting cultural and behavioural norms, and thus seeks to reinforce the power of leaders at the expense of autonomy for their followers. Rather than encourage leaders to abolish the distinction between the private and public spaces inhabited by followers, in the name of liberation, we conclude that these should be preserved and extended.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > Kent Business School > Industrial Relations/HRM
Depositing User: Jennifer Knapp
Date Deposited: 01 Jul 2010 15:02
Last Modified: 25 Jun 2014 09:27
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/25035 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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