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The Spiritual Rule: Treat others as well as possible considering your best abilities and values, their preferences, and the well being of all life

Joan F. Marques (Woodbury University, Burbank, California, USA)

International Journal of Organizational Analysis

ISSN: 1934-8835

Article publication date: 4 July 2008




The purpose of this paper is to review the phenomenon of moral principles as they have been adopted over time. The paper specifically reviews the Golden Rule, and the subsequently formulated Platinum Rule. While the value of both these rules is underscored, the paper also reviews their weaknesses in light of our new millennium awareness of increased globality and ensuing interconnectedness. The paper makes a statement that even moral principles that have been around for centuries, may have to be reevaluated in light of changed circumstances, and conclusively presents “The Spiritual Rule,” a principle that eliminates the risk of excessive arbitrariness, and calls for consideration of all life on earth in every decision we make.


This paper is a conceptual paper, reflecting on two existing principles that influence the way human beings, and therefore managers as well, make their decisions in general. The author first briefly reviews both principles (or “rules”), subsequently analyzes their weaknesses in light of contemporary developments, and ultimately introduces a new principle, the spiritual rule, thereby drawing on supporting statements various researchers and authors with in‐depth consideration of modern days' developments in human interaction.


When one wants to engage in “good business” in these and future days, one can no longer merely focus on a one‐on‐one perspective, or limit ourselves to the stakes of only two parties. There are greater interests at stake and there are larger groups of people involved in our decisions. Individualism has proven its merit, but so has collectivism. The awareness that is dawning upon us these days is that no extreme is of lasting benefit to all of us. A well‐considered blend of various strategies, resulting from openness to other ways of thinking, is the enlightened behavioral paradigm in and outside of the workplace.

Practical implications

There are many complicated theories out there about how leaders should make their decisions. However, what works best is a simple guideline that can be used in all situations and environments and that is based on the realization that human beings are first and foremost interconnected spiritual entities. This paper addresses this need and identifies the important practical considerations that leaders will need to include in their decisions.


The paper's unique contribution is to offer a moral principle that incorporates the spiritual dimension in every area of decision‐making. The three considerations presented in this paper, reduction of selfish reflections, reduction of unjust assessments of other's wishes, and reduction of harm to the welfare of our planet, are on target with the trends toward global interconnectedness and encourage leaders to consider the value of implementing and maintaining the spiritual rule.



Marques, J.F. (2008), "The Spiritual Rule: Treat others as well as possible considering your best abilities and values, their preferences, and the well being of all life", International Journal of Organizational Analysis, Vol. 16 No. 1/2, pp. 42-49.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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