The spirit at work scale: Developing and validating a measure of individual spirituality at work

  • Kinjerski V
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Abstract

A clear, empirically grounded, and theoretically defensible de fi nition, and a short, psychometrically sound measure of spirituality at work is offered. This chap- ter presents four studies to document the development of an 18-item Spirit at Work Scale (SAWS) and to establish basic construct validity and reports on its recent appli- cation. Study 1 outlines the development of the 18-item SAWS and presents the four- factor structure: engaging work, sense of community, spiritual connection, and mystical experience . Analyses revealed high internal consistency for both the total scale ( a = 0.93) and the four subscales ( a s from 0.86 to 0.91). Study 2 con fi rms the factor structure and demonstrates convergent and divergent validity by correlating SAWS with a number of work-related and personal well-being measures expected to be related to SAWS in lesser and greater degrees. As predicted, SAWS total scores correlated the highest with the other work-related measures (i.e., organizational cul- ture, organizational commitment, and job satisfaction) ( r s from 0.52 to 0.65) and the lowest with the personality dimensions ( r s from 0.10 to 0.31). The known group method illustrates that SAWS scores differ between two groups. Study 3 provides further evidence of convergent and discriminant validity with a different group. Study 4 demonstrates SAWS temporal stability (or test–retest reliability) and sensitivity to change over time. SAWS holds much promise for use in practice and research. How does one develop an instrument to measure a construct that is intangible and elusive yet has the ability to change the work world as we know it? Spirit(uality) at work is something like love; we all know what it is but fi nd it dif fi cult to de fi ne and even harder to measure. Yet, measuring the most dif fi cult things is often vital because of the potential impact. Development of the Spirit at Work Scale (SAWS) began in 2000, when it became obvious that I was unable to describe or de fi ne what I had begun to call spirit at work (SAW). I could see it in the people who were passionate about their work. There seemed to be an energy or a life force that inspired them to help others, often in spite of challenges. But I could neither de fi ne it nor fi nd an agreed-upon de fi nition. Is spirit at work an individual or organizational construct? Is it a trait, an experience, or attitude? Is spirit at work about spirituality, or religion in the workplace, or something else? Is it simply the opposite of burnout, or is it related to but distinct from burnout? The terms spirit at work , spirituality at work , organizational spirituality , work- place spirituality , and spirituality in the workplace are used interchangeably to refer to related constructs. Numerous scholars have de fi ned or identi fi ed components of workplace spirituality, and while there are differences in emphasis, there is consid- erable overlap. Although conceptual convergence occurs (Sheep 2004 ) , the fi eld did not have an agreed-upon de fi nition that lent itself to the development of an instru- ment to measure the construct. Yet measures of spirituality at work began to emerge, fi rst by Ashmos and Duchon ( 2000 ) and then by others ( Duchon and Plowman 2005 ; Kinjerski and Skrypnek 2006 ; McKee et al. 2011 ; Petchsawang and Duchon 2009 ; Rego et al. 2007 ; Milliman et al. 2003 ; Sheep 2004 ) . Some have used existing spirituality scales to assess personal spirituality and adapted them to re fl ect organizational spirituality (Kolodinsky et al. 2008 ) or proposed a new theoretical conceptualization of spiritu- ality (Liu and Robertson 2010 ) . Unfortunately, similar language is used to describe different things and different units of measurement.

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Authors

  • Val Kinjerski

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