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Redefining the Workplace - Organization as Workplace

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According to Dorr (as cited in Delbecq, Liebert, Mostyn, Nutt, & Walter, 2001, pp. 20-21) manifestation of the fruits of the Holy Spirit within the traditional organizational workplace can include,

Greater unity based on increasing effective interdependence, increased trust, increased justice, greater mutual security, a sense of more meaningful work, progress for the most marginal, stronger connection to core organization values and cultural roots, greater harmony (Shalom), and greater hope.

Biberman and Whittey (1997) advocated for the positive effects on organizations when individuals bring spiritual principles to the traditional workplace by noting,

Organizations that operate from the spiritual paradigm would be expected to have flatter organization structures and a greater openness to change. Their belief in abundant resources would lead to greater interconnectedness and co-operation between organization units, and empowerment of workers at all levels of the organization. Rather than believing in the preservation of the self at all costs, these organizations would be more concerned with existing in harmony with their environment, and would thus be more supportive of the ecology and environment, and more concerned with meeting the needs of internal and external customers. These organizations would be more likely to encourage creative thinking and the working together of organization units to establish and accomplish mutually agreed on mission statements and objectives for the organization. (¶ 17)

Gifts such as that of administration, wisdom, and discernment are but a few of the ways some Christians believe individuals can positively influence the traditional organizational workplace. In his book, God’s Ticker Tape: A Report on Divine Acquisitions in the Marketplace Silvoso (2003) shared numerous stories detailing how individuals used their perceived charismata (such as intercession and evangelism) to change their workplaces. Reported results of their efforts included individuals being blessed in the areas of personal healing, finance, increased faith and relationship with God, and joy for example. In closing, Weiss et al. (2001) wrote that regardless of which workplace individuals may find themselves in,

Most people hear their calling expressed much more subtly through their own gifts (‘charisms’) and the needs presented to them by their communities. A vocation is not only something we need to do, it is also something that the community has shown it needs us to do. (p. 10)

Finally, on the topic of work performed by the laity, Bilheimer (1954) wrote, “The work which men do is done everywhere; it is not…done in church or in some controlled situation where it is relatively easy to be Christian. It is done amid all sorts and conditions of men and of circumstances” (p. 208). Bilheimer continued, “Only those who operate with the confident freedom of the Christian man have the spiritual independence, the flexibility and the mobility wherewith to enter into this uncharted area” (p. 208). Fox (1994) also believed that,

Our work is meant to be a grace. It is a blessing and a gift, even a surprise and an act of unconditional love, toward the community - and not just the present community that may or may not compensate us for our work, but the community to come, the generations that follow our work. (p. 99)

References

Barton, B. (1924). The man nobody knows. New York: Grosset & Dunlap.Biberman, J., & Whittey, M. (1997). A postmodern spiritual future for work. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 10(2), 130-188.

Bilheimer, R. S. (1954). A Christian strategy. In J. O. Nelson (Ed.), Work and vocation: A Christian discussion (pp. 186-211). New York: Harper & Brothers.

Brehony, K. A. (1999). Ordinary grace: An examination of the roots of compassion, altruism, and empathy, and the ordinary individuals who help others in extraordinary ways. New York: Riverhead Books.

Delbecq, A. L., Liebert, E., Mostyn, J., Nutt, P. C., & Walter, G. (2001, March). Discernment and strategic decision making: Reflections for a spirituality of organizational leadership. Paper presented at Bridging the Gap Between Spirituality and Business: Proceedings from the Santa Clara Conference, Santa Clara, California. Retrieved June 5, 2004, from the Santa Clara University Leavey School of Business Web site, http://lsb.scu.edu/ISOL/discernment.pdf

Elmes, M., & Smith, C. (2001). Moved by the spirit: Contextualizing workplace empowerment in American spiritual ideals. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 37(01), 33-50. Retrieved March 30, 2004, from ProQuest ABI/Inform Global database.

Fox, M. (1994). The reinvention of work: A new vision of livelihood for our time. San Francisco: HarperCollins.

Fuller, C. (2001). Opening your child’s spiritual windows: Ideas to nurture your child’s relationship with God. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Manz, C. C., Manz, K. P., Marx, R. D., & Neck, C. P. (2001). The wisdom of Solomon at work: Ancient virtues for living and leading today. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.

McGraw, M. (2003a). Running away for three weeks: One woman’s journey across the United States in search of the American culture and    God’s place for her in it. Kearney, NE: Morris.

McGraw, M. (2003b). Discovering your workplace gifts: Identifying the tools God has given you for your work assignment. Available from Excellence at Work Web site, http://www.DrMarilyn-EAW.com

Neal, J. (2000). Work as a service to the divine: Giving our gifts selflessly and with joy. American Behavioral Scientist, 43(8), 1316-1333. Retrieved February 21, 2004, from ProQuest database. (Accession No. 2000-00027-642)

  Nolte, D. L., & Harris, R. (1998). Children learn what they live: Parenting to inspire values. New York: Workman. 

  Schaff, P. (1968). History of the Christian church (3rd ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: W. M. B. Eerdmans.

  Silvoso, E. (2003). God’s ticker tape: A report on divine acquisitions in the marketplace. San Jose, CA: Harvest Evangelism.

Weiss, J. W., Skelley, M. F., Hall, D. T., & Haughey, J.C. (2001, March). Calling, new careers and spirituality: A reflective perspective for  organizational leaders and professionals. Paper presented at Bridging the Gap Between Spirituality and Business: Proceedings from the Santa Clara Conference, Santa Clara, California. Retrieved June 5, 2004, from the Santa Clara University Leavey School of Business Web site, http://lsb.scu.edu/ISOL/discernment.pdf