Journal of Spirituality, Leadership and Management
Volume 6: 2012
Phronesis and spirituality in the workplace
Patricia Grant and Peter McGhee
Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand
Te Wananga Aronui O Tamaki-Makau-Rau
ABSTRACT: pp. 24-34.
A review of the relevant literature recognised several characteristics that permeate discussions on spirituality. This paper’s premise is that these characteristics inform an individual’s choice of values – they form a type of regulative ideal. The process developed explains the link between these values and virtue and therefore ethical behaviour in the workplace. The values frameworks developed recently in the spirituality literature specify those things a spiritual person perceives as worth having, getting or doing. This paper contends that these values, particular to spiritual persons, contribute to the flourishing of individuals and therefore lead to the acquisition of virtue. Spiritual persons are likely to be ethical persons. Such individuals are likely to be of significant benefit to their organisations. A process is offered to explain the link between these values, virtue and ethical behaviour in the workplace. Central to this process is the notion of phronesis (practical wisdom) in the perception, selection and implementation of spiritual values in the workplace.
Practical wisdom or phronesis is the reward for striving for virtue. It is the ability to know what is good to do here and now. It enables a person to have rational control of their feelings: to “have those feelings at the right times on the right grounds towards the right people for the right motive and in the right way”(Aristotle, Trans. 1941, NE Bk 2 chap 6; 1106b16). This paper contends that spiritual values, particular to spiritual persons and enhanced through phronesis, contribute to the flourishing of individuals and therefore lead to the acquisition of virtue. Phronesis is essential if espoused organisational values are to become a reality in the life of the organisation.
Key Words: Spirituality, virtue ethics, phronesis, regulative ideal, values