Department of Management


Date of this Version



Published in The Leadership Quarterly 16:5 (October 2005), pp. 807–833; doi:10.1016/j.leaqua.2005.07.008 Copyright © 2005 Elsevier Inc. Used by permission


Workplace spirituality is defined as a workplace that recognizes that employees have an inner life that nourishes and is nourished by meaningful work that takes place in the context of community. This definition, based on three fundamental spiritual needs, has implications for how leaders can enhance work unit performance by nurturing the spirit at work. In an exploratory study of six work units in a large hospital system we used an instrument that measures workplace spirituality. The results led to propositions concerning the effect of work unit spirituality on work unit performance and the relationship between work unit spirituality and leadership. Among medical units within the same hospital system, work unit spirituality is greater in some than in others; work unit performance is associated with work unit spirituality; and work unit leaders likely have an impact on the degree to which work units acknowledge and encourage issues of the spirit.