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Home / Regular Issue / JTAS Vol. 29 (3) Sep. 2021 / JSSH-8132-2021


Spiritual Well-being and Work Performance among Ground-level Employees: Unravelling the Connection

Jeffrey Khong Loong Yee, Jonathan Smith and Simon Robinson

Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science, Volume 29, Issue 3, September 2021


Keywords: Ground-level employees, narrative inquiry, qualitative, spiritual inclinations, spiritual well-being, work performance

Published on: 27 September 2021

Extant research shows that spiritual well-being and work performance are directly connected. The connection is theorised to be due to the alignment between what employees are spiritually inclined towards and what they do at work. However, research overemphasises the performative benefits of spiritual pursuits and privilege the leaders’ views. These developments, coupled with the prevalent use of quantitative methods, have resulted in one-sided and uncontextualised theorisations that constrict how workplace spirituality is investigated, understood, and converted into action. In response to these gaps, this paper investigates the experiences of ground-level employees to uncover stories of how spiritual well-being may be connected to their work performance. The study uses the qualitative paradigm and narrative inquiry as its methodology to uncover the diverse ways in which spiritual well-being and work outcomes are connected, including ones that diminish or are inconsequential to work performance. There is a need to re-examine accepted knowledge regarding the direct connection between spiritual well-being and work performance and the assumed compatibility of enacting spiritual inclinations in organisational settings. This paper calls for a more nuanced understanding of how spiritual well-being is experienced and the implications these experiences might have on the ground-level employees’ work performance. Even as research unravels this relationship further, prescriptions for practice ought to be qualified, contextualised, tentative, and customised for and by the ground-level employee.

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