The incorporation of self-spirituality into Western organizations: A gender-based critique | N Zaidman | Organization

Based on a review of existing qualitative research, this study proposes a gender-based interpretation and critique of the incorporation of self-spirituality into mainstream organizations. The article’s findings show that the enactment of self-spirituality in organizations often evokes experiences of tension or objection. The basic premises of self-spirituality culture are concerned with the authentic self and the emphasis on the individual’s awareness of his or her body, thoughts, and feelings is, in fact, a manifesto of the legitimate sources of ‘knowing’ at work. This premise is radically different from rationality as a fundamental principle of knowing and organizing. Self-spirituality further proposes an alternative to workplace relationships, which is based on a radical equality. I argue that these perceptions are embodied in gendered power relations—the relationship between the feminine self-spirituality and the masculine secular organizations. Two main modes of incorporation of self-spirituality into organizations were identified: the ‘domesticated masculine mode of incorporation’, which is presented as a ‘joining force’ in achieving main organizational values, and the ‘feminine’ modes of the incorporation of self-spirituality, which presents a revolutionary alternative to organizations. As for the viability of these modes of incorporation for creating change, self-spirituality in its domesticated masculine mode of incorporation appears to align itself with organizations public domain. In contrast to this, the two ‘feminine’ modes of incorporation create the possibility for self-spirituality to be lived by individuals as an ‘individual wisdom’. The study contributes to organization research by identifying ways in which radical alternatives may be incorporated into organizations.

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