Posted by: Dorianne Cotter-Lockard | 13 October 2007

Spirituality in Business

One of my potential research topics is “Spirituality in the Lives of Corporate Executives.”   

Per “My Research” blog page: I want to study corporate senior executives who are experiencing a spiritual void because they have somehow “lost themselves” along the road to success.  I want to find out when this occurs during people’s careers, why it happens, and the impact of this state of being on people’s lives (health, family, career, happiness).

One of my assignments for my DOCS class was to go to several online databases through the Fielding library and look for relevant articles and books.  I found very little out there specifically on “spirituality and leadership” or “spirituality and business.”  Seems that the topic is still taboo to directly mention in titles of articles and books.  I sense that the topic is alive but buried within the literature and I’ll have to dig deeper to find some sources. 

Part of our learning process at Fielding includes comments posted by our fellow students on our papers and postings.  My colleauges were very supportive and helpful with suggestions and citations.  One of my classmates, Gui,  pointed me to Whole Foods’ statement about their business paradigm.  Go to their site and take a look.  Toward the end of the slides, you’ll see a model for their organization that represents their “soul.”  This is what I’m trying to get at in my research question.  My hypothesis is that the leaders of these organizations directly impact the soul of the organization, which directly impact the lives of employees, customers and investors.

Coincidentally (and there are no coincidences), my friend Karen posted a comment this week on my research page, citing her current experience of working for the Jane Goodall Institute, another example of an organization with a soul.



  1. Hi, how are you?

    I managed to start reading more for my essay but have been too busy at work to really make a progress.

    This week I moved my blog to – hope that it works out great. Need to update my website shortly too.

    Speak soon, whats new with you?


  2. Daniel Goleman, the author of Emotional Intelligence; Why it can matter more than IQ, did his original research at Harvard University. The theory around EQ is based on research related on the human brain and emotions. It’s not just a fad, the original book came out in 1995 and research has continued since then. His work is highly generative; I went to the Social Sciences citation index (an online database through my school library) and ran a report on him. He’s been cited 639 times for various articles (not all about EI) in professional journals.

    From Wikipedia: He is a co-chairman of The Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations, which is based in the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology at Rutgers University. Goleman was a co-founder of The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning at the Yale University Child Studies Center (now at the University of Illinois at Chicago).

    There’s a test called ECI-360 that I’m looking further into – I don’t know what quantitative data is being captured, but it will be interesting to find out. I can say that I have used many of the ideas in his books around EI with my leadership team with great results.

    I’m going to post to Goleman’s blog so he’s aware of this dialog. Maybe he will post his response here….

  3. Hi Dorianne,

    I will check out the books. Will try to backlink your blog to mine now too, and add a link to my website too.

    The whole EQ-IQ thing is interesting. But how can you really measure EQ. Is it just empathy? The right touch and knowing how to deal with people?

    I am always careful not to fall into the trap of another big theory that is nothing new. That is why I am very critical towards EQ. However, not saying it is not part of common sense ,-)

    Just wrote some notes on energy systems this morning, – might be interesting to use some of that towards a soul of a business??

    Have a great Sunday,

  4. I have added your links to my blog and while I agree that one should use a variety of ideas and techniques to help individuals and businesses, such as NLP, etc. I also believe there really is depth to the EQ theory. I have worked for so long in corporate life and seen directly how someone with really high IQ messes things up as a leader because he doesn’t have the EQ to go along with his IQ.

    You might want to read some Ken Wilbur books such as A Brief History of Everything, Integral Psychology, A Theory of Everything and Integral Spirituality because he draws on all the major human development and consciousness theories.

    There is not much yet on the soul of the corporation, that may be where I can make a contribution.

  5. Hello,
    Me again. I think I was supposed to answer this one too.
    Just had a look around your blog again and commented on your choice of research ,-) Hot topics, really!

    I am not sure if EQ is the only way to increase their way to “internal goals” – to be honest, I wrote a paper on EQ for my MBA and think it is just a little of motivation packed in a nice keyword.

    But, using a combination of tools (that is what I call it), e.g. NLP, DBM, EQ, spiritual theories and then apply them to business, I believe there is a way to connect to your inner self or a corporation to connect to their inner self. I believe you called the latter one soul of a corporation. Never heard that one before – is there literature for that?

    I will stay tuned and would appreciate that we can maybe link our pages/blogs so that we not only stay in touch but also get our theories connected. Only if you are happy with that?

    Which landing page would you like me to add?

    I would like you to add:

    Have a great weekend!


  6. Nice blog and website for your consulting, Volker! It’s good to find others who are interested in personal transformation from within for leaders. Leaders generally focus on setting achievement goals, which are generally externally oriented (e.g. huge sales targets, promotions, M&A, etc.). If they were to focus on developing their EQ (I see you do consulting on Emotional Intelligence), they would naturally achieve the other goals and find they have a greater impact on people in a positive way.

    Take a look at some of the links in my blog. The CEO-ing blog and Whole Foods business model are two examples. Regarding my research, I’m pulling together a bibliography right now, but haven’t started the research – that will be over a couple of years. Stay tuned…..

  7. Hello Dorianne,

    I am looking for input on “spirituality and business”. Interesting blog you have. Ever visited

    Have you written or started on your research yet about senior executives who lost touch with spirituality? How do you define spirituality in that sense and in the business sense – if you distinguish there?

    Thanks for your time.

    Best Regards and all the best for 2008,

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