The role of spirituality in meaningful work
Sullivan, Troy V.
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The purpose of this study was to understand the role of spirituality in meaningful work. The investigation was guided by three research questions. First, what is spirituality from the worker’s perspective? Second, what is meaningful work from the worker’s perspective? Lastly, how do adults manifest spirituality at work? This qualitative study included face-to-face interviews with eleven participants who themselves felt that their spirituality played a part in their work. In addition to interviews, observation data and personal documents were analyzed for content. Three sets of findings were inductively derived from the data using the constant comparative method of analysis. The participants of this study defined spirituality as making connections with a Higher Being and with other people. They further associated spirituality with having a belief system instilled in them as children. Meaningful work was characterized as making a difference and having a sense of pride in one’s job. The most common ways that spirituality was manifest at work included the non-judgmental acceptance of people, the helping and empowering of others, and a commitment to and love of one’s work. Findings from this study suggest that people bring their spiritual selves to work. Two conclusions were reached: 1) that spirituality involves making connections and, 2) for work to be meaningful it is important for it to connect to one’s spirituality. The major finding from this study suggests that spirituality is manifest at work through the non-judgmental acceptance of people, by helping and empowering others, and through a commitment to and love of one’s work. Being able to express these is what makes work meaningful.