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There is growing acknowledgement of the importance of the relationship between leadership and workplace spirituality (WPS), yet the research field is still relatively new, not widely accepted, and rife with debates. This paper is grounded in the sustainable leadership work of Avery and Bergsteiner, and the interpretive stream of the Management, Spirituality, and Religion (MSR) discipline with WPS defined as spirit, or “vital energising force” (Fairholm, 1996:11) of employees manifesting in the context of work and organisations (Todarello and More 2014). We also acknowledge Fry’s model of “spiritual leadership: (2005:17) as “the values, attitudes, and behaviors that are necessary to intrinsically motivate self and others so that they have a sense of spiritual survival through calling and membership.”

Crucial is appropriate research context and methodology. Some apply traditional quantitative measures like surveys. Others (e.g. Case and Gosling 2010) remain convinced that traditional empirical research is unhelpful. Here we use the Avery/Bergsteiner model, acknowledging sustainable leadership as context for enhancing WPS knowledge through a hermeneutic perspective, providing a richer basis for linking them to enhance understanding as a basis for a more pragmatic portfolio of leadership practices. Exemplars are: developing people continuously, valuing people, ethical behaviour, considered organisational change, self-management, and enabling culture.

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Conference Paper

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