Sunday, August 16, 2009

I'm not alone: Other groups integrating spirituality and organizational life

When I left my job a year ago to learn about the "spirit of institutions," I imagined I might be the only one with that particular focus. One of the most fun things about the past year has been discovering many other people and organizations that are also on this path. This month I went to a spiritual retreat in Chicago that was organized by the Religion and Spirituality Interest Group of the Academy of Management. For three days, I did spiritual practices with a group of academics who study management. I came back home feeling less alone in my path.

Here are some of the groups that I've been very happy to discover this year. They all have some focus on the intersection of spirituality and organizations. I see these groups as resources for both engaging more of our individual's spirit in work and leadership--and also resources for how whole organizations can integrate spiritual principles into their management and operation. As an expression of my geographic bias, I noted the groups that are based in Minnesota (MN).

Nonprofit Organizations:

Seeing Things Whole "A network for bridging faith and organizational life."

Institution Institute for Spiritual Leadership "Our objectives are centered around maximizing the triple bottom line through the application of the spiritual leadership paradigm, personal leadership coaching, planned retreats, consulting and keynote presentations.

Holacarcy One "Holacracy integrates the collective wisdom of people throughout the company, while aligning the organization with its broader purpose and a more organic way of operating."

Center for Contemplative Mind in Society "integrates contemplative awareness into contemporary life in order to help create a more just, compassionate, reflective, and sustainable society."

Presencing Institute, "a global action research community that applies Theory U to societal transformation by shifting the social field from ego-system to eco-system awareness."

Stone Circles: "Sustaining activists and strengthening the work of justice through spiritual practice and principles."

The Management, Spirituality, and Religion (MSR) Interest Group of the Academy of Management (AOM), "focuses on research related to the relevance and relationship of spirituality and religion in management and organizational life."

Center for Courage and Renewal, "nurtures personal and professional integrity and the courage to act on it."

Center for Contemplative Dialogue, "assists both groups and individual leaders in engaging the 'Collective Mind' or 'Spirit' of their organizations."

Heartland (MN), "convenes conversations, programs, trainings, and communities of engagement, dedicated to creating a world that works for all."

Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership, "promotes the awareness, understanding, and practice of servant leadership by individuals and organizations."

Foundation for Workplace Spirituality, "raising spiritual awareness and consciousness in the workplace."

Spirituality at Work

Based in Academic Institutions:

The Yale Center for Faith and Culture, "promote the practice of faith in all spheres of life."

Center for Ethical Business Cultures (MN), "encourages current and future business leaders to build ethical cultures in their organizations and high standards of integrity in their communities."

Center for Integrative Leadership (MN), "develop a better understanding of how collective action across sectors (business, government, nonprofits, media, academia) and geographic boundaries can solve some of the world’s most pressing and complex societal problems."

Center for Faith and Learning (MN), Augsburg College

Tyson Center for Faith and Spirituality in the Workplace, at the University of Arkansas, led by Judith Neal

Center for Workplace Spirituality and Business Values, "promote the understanding and practice of spirituality and values in the workplace."

Princeton University Faith & Work Initiative, "to generate intellectual frameworks and practical resources for the issues and opportunities surrounding faith and work."

Centre for Spirituality and the Workplace, Saint Mary‘s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia,

Center for Business as an Agent of World Betterment "advances extraordinary business innovation and entrepreneurship by turning the global environmental and social issues of our day into core value-creation opportunities."

International Symposium on Spirituality and Business, " dedicated to having personal, in-depth conversations on how spirituality impacts the core values on which a business is built and how those values can be successfully incorporated into the life of a business."

Conscious Capitalism Institute at Bentley University

Center for Integrity in Business,"promote a thorough and rigorous reevaluation of the purposes, role, and values of business in these times of moral and ethical crisis."

Other organizational development consultants with a spiritual-base to their work:

Nova Group (MN) Supporting institutional formation among higher education institutions.

Magis Ventures (MN), "To help leaders align values with action to build successful organizations"

Executive Soul, helps leaders make better decisions through spiritual leadership."

Kaizen Solutions, "inspires, guides, and fosters the creation of spirit at work so that employees experience fulfillment and meaning through work and organizations attain improved customer service and increased productivity.”"

Servant Leader Associates, "Servant-Leaders seek to understand the cares, yearnings, and struggles of the human spirit."

Sullivan Transformation Agents (MN) "Whole System Transformation"

Judith Neal and Associates, "committed to helping leaders, teams and organizations reach their full potential through personal and organizational transformation."

Conscious Pursuits, "founded on the belief that developing spiritual and emotional intelligence leads to more motivated, productive employees, resulting in reduced stress and improved bottom-line performance"

Legacy Coaching, "centered on developing awareness of the difference we can make."

The Presence Project, "devoted to the integration of spirit and practice in the workplace."

Cambium Consulting, "We believe in the need to inspire and celebrate the best of the human spirit, all while aiming for practice, observable, and sustainable results."


What groups would you add to the list?


Unknown said...

Hello Michael - you are definitely not alone! Check out the Foundation for Workplace Spirituality in the UK and the links page there:

Unknown said...

Hi Michael
thank you for that list! I also began to study spirituality and workplace, as a result of the findings of my doctoral study on corporate leaders championing CSR initiatives. I found in that study the important role spirituality for them! My practice is centered on developing awareness of the difference we can make, and it's called legacy coaching ( Would love to create more synergy with like-minded colleagues.

Unknown said...

Sorry not sure why my name didn't come out, i'm Isabel Rimanoczy

Tom T said...

Hi Michael,

Indeed you are not alone learning to integrate spirituality into

I did my doctoral study from University of St. Thomas, OD department on the topic of leaders' quest for wholeness: Study on the lived experiece of top spiritual leaders across the globe. For futher exploration consult the dissertation: The quest for wholeness by Dr. Thomas Thakadipuram, from UST.

Let me know what resonated with you,


Michael Bischoff said...

Thank you, Eve, Isabel, and Tom! Some others have emailed me privately, and based on the suggestions, I've added some more links to the list.

Tom, I've come across your name and thesis before. From Google-ing your name, it looks like you are in India now, is that right? I'm going to look for a copy of your thesis.

Margaret Benefiel said...

This is a great list, Michael! Thanks!

ASHLEY said...

Hi MIchael,
It's great to find others out there integrating spirituality and work. Thanks so much for the list. I come to this work via two careers, one in Finance (VP Corporate Banking-NY) and the other an Episcopal priest and student of Buddhism. My practice involves promoting what Tolle would call awakened "doing" in the workplace. See: (Still under construction).
All the best in your work.

Michael Bischoff said...

Thank you, Ashley. I added your web-site to the list.

I love how you describe your "rationale" on your web-site. Here's a chunk of it:

"The basis of its mission assumes that we are living in an age of rapidly intensifying complexity and expansion of ideas and disciplines while, at the same time participating in a major global paradigm shift . Longstanding structures both physical and psychological are changing, dissolving and being re-envisioned.

There is an underlying presence called by various names: Spirit, God, Consciousness, Compassion, Wisdom, Universal Life, Universal Intelligence etc. We can learn to tap into this presence and allow it to inform and govern our work in the world. In activating presence it, as opposed to our egos, helps us to achieve the best outcome for any given situation.

There is an opening in the midst of the change going on today, for us to moved beyond ego-based activity and become individually and collectively more present to ourselves and our environment, and to integrate ourselves in such a way as to ensure creative, productive and ethical action in the world."

Cambium Consulting said...

Hello Michael,

Thank you for compiling this inspiring list -- and for your own contributions in the world. We need all the paradigm pioneers we can get!

You may find it appropriate to include my company in the list. We're called Cambium Consulting and we operate from a view of organizations as living systems which are, by definition, animated by an integrative spirit of life. In working with clients, we use a framework called the Engagement Competency Model, which guides orgranizations in creating the fertile conditions for life to flourish. (What is being "engaged" is the spirit of life.) The model is based on my extensive research into the patterns of living systems and the patterns of successful organizations.

I'm thrilled to see so many groups working with this topic!

Michelle Holliday
Cambium Consulting