Chris Laszlo, PhD, Char and Chuck Fowler Professor of Business as an Agent of World Benefit and faculty executive director of the Fowler Center, discusses the role of mindfulness practices in business and the conversation management scholars are having about spirituality and religion's place in the workplace.
by Chris Laszlo, PhD, Char and Chuck Fowler Professor of Business as an Agent of World Benefit, professor of organizational behavior, and faculty executive director of the Fowler Center.
First published in the Huffington Post:
In 2016, the annual meeting of the Academy of Management brought together close to 10,000 scholars on the theme, “Making Organizations Meaningful.” Within the topic’s broad scope, I chose to attend the Management, Spirituality, and Religion workshops and symposia, because of my current research into the role of mindfulness practices in business. I was interested in how such practices helped leaders experience the world as more deeply connected - to self, others, and Nature - and what it meant for sustainable business outcomes. My hypothesis was that regular mindfulness practices, whether meditation, walking in Nature, music, exercise, or other similar activity, helped cultivate broader perception and greater awareness of how one’s attitudes and actions impacted others and the world. This, in turn, would transform the social identity of leaders, increasing their emotional and social intelligence, and consequently making them more likely to take decisions and pursue actions that positively impact society and future generations. For the moment it was only a hypothesis. Fortunately, I had Case Western Reserve University’s resources and talented doctoral students in the Weatherhead School of Management to help me conduct multi-year field research on this topic. At AOM, I was interested to hear how other scholars were thinking about these issues.
What I learned was that the topic of spirituality and religion attracted a large number of management scholars for a wide variety of reasons.
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