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Journal of Management, Spirituality and Religion

Outline deadline: May 2020   |   Manuscript deadline: October 2020

Spirituality and Ethics

The special issue aims to explore why ethics needs spirituality in management theory and practice. Western ethics suggests that ethical action is a cognitive enterprise. Western ethical theories provide abstract models to be applied or followed by moral agents (deontology, consequentialism, virtue ethics). But the main problem to behave ethically is not knowledge but motivation as findings of moral psychology clearly show.Stanford psychologist Albert Bandura (2016) discovered a number of psychosocial mechanisms by which considerate ethical agents can enter in harmful and socially injurious conduct. These moral disengagement mechanisms include moral justification, euphemistic labeling, advantageous comparison, displacement of responsibility, diffusion of responsibility, disregarding or distorting the consequences, dehumanization, and attribution of blame.

If we want to improve the ethicality of our decisions and actions we should enhance the development of our self toward a more inclusive, holistic, and peaceful state of consciousness. Empirical evidence suggests that spiritual experiences help the person to transcend his or her narrow self-conception and enable him or her to exercise genuine empathy with others and to take an all-encompassing perspective.

Spiritual experiences involve authentic experimental identification with other people, animals, plants and various other aspects of nature and cosmos. “We typically undergo profound changes in our understanding of existence and of the nature of reality. We directly experience the divine, sacred, or numinous dimensions of existence in a compelling way.” (Grof 1998: 2 and 17) Despite the rich diversity of spiritual experience, the main ethical message is always the same: love and compassion, deep reverence for life, and empathy with all sentient beings. Spiritual experiences allow people to “develop a new system of values that is not based on conventional norms, precepts, commandments, and fear of punishment” but “understanding of the universal order”. People realize that they are an integral part of creation and that by hurting others they would be hurting themselves. (Grof 1998: 129)

Spirituality has important implications for ethics and management. (Zsolnai   2004, Bouckaert and Zsolnai 2011, Zsolnai and Flanagan 2019) Spiritually-based or spiritually-inspired ethics makes people less likely to employ moral disengagement mechanisms (Baron, Zhao, and Miao 2015) and provides them greater opportunities for effective moral functioning.

In this special issue of the Journal of Management, Spirituality and Religion, we are seeking contributions that provide theoretical or empirical insights on how spirituality influences ethics at the individual, organizational or institutional levels. We encourage research that elaborates on, but is not limited to, the following research questions/topics:

How does spirituality contribute to the ethical commitment of economic actors to serving social well-being, sustainability, and the interest of future generations?

How care as a basic human motive is related to ethics, spirituality and sustainability in mangaement context?

Which are the promising spiritually driven ethical models of management in different parts of the world and how they relate to religious social movements?

What is the relationship between spiritual practices and ethical economic activities? Which are the most promising fields of the economy where the marriage of spirituality and ethics brings forth new practices?

How can spirituality and ethics serve the quality of organizational functioning in human, social and environmental terms?

How can spiritually driven ethics contribute to the transformation of contemporary management theory and praxis?

How can spirituality be introduced in ethics education of managers and business executives?

Language: en-US

Publisher: tandf

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Guest Editor Information:

Bernadette Flanagan completed her doctorate in Humanities (Christian Spirituality) at the Milltown Institute of Theology and Philosophy in Dublin, Ireland. She is Associate Professor and led the development of MA and professional doctoral studies at the Spirituality Institute for Research and Education of Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland.

Laszlo Zsolnai is Professor and Director of the Business Ethics Center at the Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary. He is President of the European SPES Institute in Leuven, Belgium.

Contact: Laszlo Zsolnai 


Submission Timeline

May 2020: Deadline for receiving paper outlines by the SI's guest editors;

July 2020: Feedback provided to authors inviting them to submit full papers;

October 2020: Full paper received by SI's associate editor;

November 2020: Review;

December 2020: Feedback from SI's editors to authors;



March 2021: Revision papers submission

April 2021: Final Version submitted to Editor;

May 2021: Editorial comments;

June 2021: Final Version submitted to Journal of Management Spirituality and Religious;

September 2021: online pre-publication.

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Bandura, A. (2016): Moral Disengagement. How People Do Harm and Live with Themselves. Macmillan. New York.
Baron, R. A., Zhao, H. and Miao, Q. 2015: “Personal Motives, Moral Disengagement, and Unethical Decisions by Entrepreneurs: Cognitive Mechanisms on the ‘‘Slippery Slope’’” Journal of Business Ethics (2015) 128: pp. 107–118.
Bouckaert, L. and Zsolnai, L. (Eds.) 2011: The Palgrave Handbook of Spirituality and Business. Palgrave Macmillan, London.
Grof, S. 1998: The Cosmic Game. Explorations of the Frontiers of Human Consciousness. State University of New York Press, Albany.
Zsolnai, L. (Ed.) 2004: Spirituality and Ethics in Management. Kluwer Academic Publishers. Boston, Dordrecht & London.
Zsolnai, L. and Flanagan, B. (Eds.) 2019: The Routledge International Handbook of Spirituality in Society and the Professions. Routledge, London and New York.