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Spirituality and Management Research and the Seven Ss

The Emerald Handbook of Management and Organization Inquiry

ISBN: 978-1-78714-552-8, eISBN: 978-1-78714-551-1

Publication date: 6 June 2019


The general topic of spirituality and the ways in which spirituality in organizations was studied and reported on have received mixed reactions (ranging from positive to puzzled to skeptical to negative) from sc’Moi participants, many of whom were European critical management theorists, and management researchers in other divisions when the Management Spirituality and Religion group was started at the Academy of Management. In this chapter I examine how these management research differences in approaches to ontology and epistemology were influenced by the philosophical approaches of Hegel and Marx, and how similar differences also influenced psychological research, whose approach to research and research methodology forms the basis of much management research. I will examine how these contrasting beliefs have played out and continue to play out in such seemingly diverse but really similar subjects of inquiry as philosophy (e.g., Hegel vs Marx), psychology (e.g., introspection vs behaviorism), and management studies (e.g., management organization inquiry vs critical management). I examine what these approaches have in common, how, in my opinion, the behaviorists have so far prevailed, and why they have so far prevailed; I conclude with suggestions for how ongoing dialectics between the seven Ss (the seven themes elaborated on in this book – storytelling, system, sustainability, science, spirit, spirals, and sociomateriality) can help contribute to the field of spirituality in management, and how spirituality research can contribute and interact with the other themes to the future of management and organizational inquiry.



Biberman, J. (2019), "Spirituality and Management Research and the Seven Ss", Boje, D.M. and Sanchez, M. (Ed.) The Emerald Handbook of Management and Organization Inquiry, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 77-87.



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