Macquarie University
01whole.pdf (2.67 MB)

The many faces of workplace spirituality: a hermeneutic inquiry into the four worldviews as contexts of the employee-organization relationship and conduits for spirit manifesting

Download (2.67 MB)
posted on 2022-03-28, 14:34 authored by Ekaterina Todarello
This thesis aims to develop a fuller understanding of workplace spirituality (WPS) as a multi-faceted, diverse, tradition-rich, worldview- and context-dependent construct. Performed within the borders of philosophical hermeneutics, the study uses hermeneutic premise of the fundamental role of history, language, tradition and context as pre-requisites to understanding any phenomenon, including that of WPS. This study explores three areas: research on spirituality (including but not limited to the organization and management literature); cross-disciplinary research on worldview (including investigations of two research directions - worldview structure (such as functions and roles of worldviews) and worldview content (such as beliefs and assumptions); and, finally, research on the employee-organization relationship (EOR) as a crystallized version of rather ambiguous 'workplace' used in the construct of WPS. Literature analysis renders three main results. First, inductive understanding of WPS as a worldview which serves as conduit for spirit manifesting in the context of employee-organization relationship is achieved. Second, a Four (Dream, Crossroads, Paradox and Alchemy) Worlds framework emerges as a result of taking EOR beyond the limited borders of the organizational behaviour literature which struggles to accommodate spirituality. And, third, reflective of three research domains (spirituality, worldview, EOR), two research questions are developed. Focusing on the structure and content of the worldviews that serve as conduits for spirit manifesting, they are essentially concerned with understanding the whole (context) of which spirituality is a part and are used to assess a Four Worlds framework in terms of its explanatory power for WPS. Following tradition of philosophical hermeneutics and its argument of the prevalence of hermeneutics over any fixed and pre-developed method, AUSHI - authentic spiritual hermeneutic inquiry - is developed and applied to analyze a rich pool of data resulting from conducting 44 semi-structured interviews. As a result, four theoretically developed worldviews (Four Worlds) are considerably enriched both structure- and content-wise and provide compelling picture of rich, equally important, and distinctive interpretations of workplace spirituality, including the Dream World spirituality of individualization and untapped potential, the Crossroads World spirituality of crisis and growth, the Paradox World spirituality of presence and authenticity, and the Alchemy World spirituality of everydayness and service.


Table of Contents

1. Invitation to a journey - workplace spirituality in hermeneutic research -- 2. Towards inductive understanding of workplace spirituality, worldview and the creation of the Four Worlds framework -- 3. The Four Worlds of the employee-organization relationship and spirituality at work -- 4. Emergence of authentic spiritual hermeneutic inquiry (AUSHI) as a personal research methodology -- 5. Four worldviews as conduits for spirit manifesting - the four faces of workplace spirituality -- 6. Invitation to further conversations: issues of quality and usefulness.


"April 2013 Includes bibliographical references A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy"

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Macquarie Graduate School of Management

Department, Centre or School

Macquarie Graduate School of Management

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Steven Segal

Additional Supervisor 1

Elizabeth More


Copyright Ekaterina Todarello 2013 Copyright disclaimer:




1 online resource (xix, 369 pages)

Former Identifiers