Reinventing Management Training: How Spiritual Values Change the Practice of Modern Management and of Managerial Education

Reinventing Management Training: How Spiritual Values Change the Practice of Modern Management and of Managerial Education

Matthew R. Fairholm, Gilbert W. Fairholm
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-510-6.ch002
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This chapter argues that today’s society renders traditional management practice incomplete. To better position managers in their organizations, they need to embrace and apply a spiritual connotation to the work they do. The task set forth in this chapter is to explore how management education and training needs to change to include a managerial mindset that accepts both the call to control and the need to be responsive to the spiritual side of both manager and employees. The chapter first describes traditional management theory and then applies a spiritual application to the traditional work of management. It describes new skills and activities needed to engage in spiritual management. With this new understanding, managers can prepare themselves to help workers be productive and useful while also helping them find meaning and personal fulfillment in the work.
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The Evolution Of Modern Management Thought

While management theory and practice encompass certain discrete elements, the individual manager’s ability to understand or apply those elements may be limited by the mental perspectives he or she (and their followers) bring to organizational life. Thus, the goal is to rethink management research and training to encompass a more holistic approach to doing management. But first, we must consider past managerial definitions, mindsets, and training.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Building Community: A fundamental reorientation of management education that supports creating unifying work communities that effectively counter current tendencies toward worker disaffection by recognizing the simultaneous need we all have to be free to act in terms of our own reality and to be part of a similarly-focused work community; Spiritual management says people are social and much of that interaction is based on a desire to unite with others.

Management: Impersonal, top-down management model characterized by management control, prediction, and measurement.

Setting High Moral Standards: Since each of us sets our own moral standards, the real managing task is to help coworkers use their inner spirit as they do the same; spiritual managers are, therefore skilled in values displacement; they set the ethical and moral tone for their coworkers; they share intentions that raise the levels of human conduct; spiritual managers have ethical “presence” and provide followers with socially valuable meanings for the work asked of them.

Maintaining Stewardship: Spiritual managers understand that their management is held in trust as a stewardship for a temporary period, recognizing stewards do not have ownership of the means of production; steward-managers may propose plans, choices, and programs, but followers have an opportunity to consent before the actions taken are generally accepted; it involves trust, trusteeship, and accountability; a behavior pattern of service by communities and individual members who come to know what needs to be done and how it is to be done and then collectively do; co-ownership.

Spirituality: That which draws from the essential human values present in human society around the world and across time that teach us how we humans belong within the greater pattern of events, who we truly are, and how we can realize harmony in life and work

Spiritual Management: Management perspective that focuses on the organizational impacts on the personal and spiritual dimensions of organizational members, improves those dimensions, and hence increases organizational effectiveness.

Fostering Wholeness: Spiritual managers are concerned with the whole person, not just the specific skills a worker may have that might be useful in accomplishing the current work being done; wholeness can be defined as the increasing ability to discover and use all of our qualities to enhance the manager’s life and that of his or her followers

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