Can Organizational Spirituality Contribute to Knowledge Management?



Society demands more sustainable business. Increasing organizational spirituality can be one manner of accomplishing this humanized strategy, and knowledge management is an efficient method to diffuse high-level values through the company. Spirituality has a vital role in organizational theory and practice. Nevertheless, this also places a heavy burden on practitioners. To address this association, we conducted a systematic literature review, systematizing and categorizing the results to answer the research question, "can organizational spirituality contribute to knowledge management?", and propose a future investigation research agenda. We utilized the Web of Science and Scopus database. We submitted the articles to VOSviewer software version 1.6.16 for building, displaying, and exploring a bibliometric map supported by network data. The beginning was about wisdom, followed by a major focus on knowledge fields after increasing attention to spirituality. VOSviewer provided a network with two clusters, namely, spirituality dynamics and knowledge dynamics. Spirituality and knowledge labels have connections in both clusters. Wisdom and organizational wisdom are isolated from the other terms. Based on the articles analyzed, organizational spirituality can indeed assist knowledge management. One should ponder, however, that there are still few empirical studies with non-generalizable results. Considering the mysticism and excess of non-scientific articles (and scarcity of scientific ones), we recommend a change in approaching it. Traditional and positivist methodologies are not the most suitable; consequently, innovative and mixed methods ought to be used, providing the research's scientific nature. It is crucial to look at the insertion of spirituality in management with a scientific and critical eye.

Full Text:



Ahangaran, J., Khooshebast, F., & Vahedi, E. (2016). Meta‐analysis of the effects of spirituality in the organization and comprehensive model. International Journal of Advanced and Applied Sciences, 3(1), 22–31.

Ankrah, S., & AL-Tabbaa, O. (2015). Universities–industry collaboration: A systematic review. Scandinavian Journal of Management, 31(3), 387–408.

Argote, L., & Ingram, P. (2000). Knowledge transfer: A basis for competitive advantage in firms. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 82(1), 150–169.

Ashmos, D. P., & Duchon, D. (2000). Spirituality at work: A conceptualization and measure. Journal of Management Inquiry, 9(2), 134–145.

Ayoubi, A., Mosalanejad, R., & Jahromi, M. R. (2015). The effect of organizational effective - economic management components on organizational - citizenship behavior in the Agriculture Organization in Fars Province, Iran. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, 6(1), 62–71.

Bejinaru, R. (2017). Knowledge strategies aiming to improve the intellectual capital of universities. Management and Marketing, Challenges for the Knowledge Society. 12(3), 500–523.

Bejinaru, R., Hapenciuc, C. V., Condratov, I., & Stanciu, P. (2018). The university role in developing the human capital for a sustainable bioeconomy. Amfiteatru Economic, 20(49), 583–598.

Benefiel, M. (2003). Mapping the terrain of spirituality in organizations research. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 16(4), 367–377.

Bengtsson, M., & Raza-Ullah, T. (2016). A systematic review of research on coopetition: Toward a multilevel understanding. Industrial Marketing Management, 57, 23–39.

Bierly, P. E., Kessler, E. H., & Christensen, E. W. (2000). Organizational learning, knowledge and wisdom. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 13(6), 595–618.

Bratianu, C. (2015). Spiritual knowledge. In A. DeMarco, K. Wolfe, C. Henning & S. Hoffmeister (Eds.), Organizational knowledge dynamics: Managing knowledge creation, acquisition, sharing, and transformation (pp. 72–102). IGI Global.

Bratianu, C., & Bejinaru, R. (2019). The theory of knowledge fields: a thermodynamics approach. Systems, 7(2), 20.

Bratianu, C., & Bejinaru, R. (2020). Knowledge dynamics: a thermodynamics approach. Kybernetes, 49(1), 6–21.

Bratianu, C., & Orzea, I. (2013). The entropic intellectual capital model. Knowledge Management Research & Practice, 11(2), 133–141.

Bratianu, C., Vătămănescu, E. M., Anagnoste, S., & Dominici, G. (2020). Untangling knowledge fields and knowledge dynamics within the decision-making process. Management Decision, 59(2), 306–323.

Brophy, M. (2015). Spirituality incorporated: Including convergent spiritual values in business. Journal of Business Ethics, 132(4), 779–794.

Brown, R. B. (2003). Organizational spirituality: The sceptic’s version. Organization, 10(2), 393–400.

Corbin, J., & Strauss, A. (2008). Basics of qualitative research: Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory (3rd ed.). Sage Publications Inc.

Corner, P. D., & Pavlovich, K. (2016). Shared value through inner knowledge creation. Journal of Business Ethics, 135(3), 543–555.

De Angelis, C. T. (2016). The impact of national culture and knowledge management on governmental intelligence. Journal of Modelling in Management, 11(1), 240–268.

Denyer, D., & Tranfield, D. (2009). Producing a systematic review. In D. A. Buchanan & A. Bryman (Eds.). The Sage handbook of organizational research methods (p. 671-689). Sage Publication Ltd.

Driver, M. (2007). A “spiritual turn” in organizational studies: Meaning making or meaningless? Journal of Management, Spirituality and Religion, 4(1), 56–86.

Durkheim, E. (1960). Les formes élémentaires de la vie religieuse: Le système totémique en Australie (4a). Quadrige PUF.

Edmondson, A. C., & McManus, S. E. (2007). Methodological fit in management field research. Academy of Management Review, 32(4), 1246–1264.

Elkins, D. N., Hedstrom, L. J., Hughes, L. L., Leaf, J. A., & Saunders, C. (1988). Toward a humanistic-phenomenological spirituality: definition, description, and measurement. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 28(4), 5–18.

Erden, Z., von Krogh, G., & Nonaka, I. (2008). The quality of group tacit knowledge. The Journal of Strategic Information Systems, 17(1), 4–18.

Friedman, V. J., Lipshitz, R., & Popper, M. (2005). The mystification of organizational learning. Journal of Management Inquiry, 14(1), 19–30.

Fry, L. W. (2003). Toward a theory of spiritual leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 14(6), 693–727.

Gotsis, G., & Kortezi, Z. (2008). Philosophical foundations of workplace spirituality: A critical approach. Journal of Business Ethics, 78(4), 575–600.

Grant, K. A. (2007). Tacit knowledge revisited - we can still learn from Polanyi. Electronic Journal of Knowledge Management, 5(2), 173–180.

Grayson, C. J., & O’Dell, C. (1998). If only we knew what we know: The transfer of internal knowledge and best practice. The Free Press.

Han, Y., Lu, X., & Li, Z. (2010). In search of excellence: spiritual training program and junior managers’ counterproductive work behavior in China: Guangxi State Farm Group grows moral managers of the future-course seeks to combat "counterproductive" work behaviour. Human Resource Management International Digest, 18(2), 10–12.

Hislop, D., Bosua, R., & Helms, R. (2013). Knowledge management in organizations: A critical introduction (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press.

Jones, M. V., Coviello, N., & Tang, Y. K. (2011). International entrepreneurship research (1989-2009): a domain ontology and thematic analysis. Journal of Business Venturing, 26(6), 632–659.

Jordan, J., & Jones, P. (1997). Assessing your company’s knowledge management style. Long Range Planning, 30(3), 392–398.

Karakas, F. (2010). Spirituality and performance in organizations: a literature review. Journal of Business Ethics, 94(1), 89–106.

Khari, C., & Sinha, S. (2018). Organizational spirituality and knowledge sharing: a model of multiple mediation. Global Journal of Flexible Systems Management, 19(4), 337–348.

Kökalan, Ö. (2019). The effect of organizational cynicism on job satisfaction: testing the mediational role of perceived organizational spirituality. Management Research Review, 42(5), 625–640.

Kolodinsky, R. W., Giacalone, R. A., & Jurkiewicz, C. L. (2008). Workplace values and outcomes: Exploring personal, organizational, and interactive workplace spirituality. Journal of Business Ethics, 81(2), 465–480.

Macnaghten, P., & Myers, G. (2007). Qualitative research practice (C. Seale, G. Gobo, J. F. Gubrium, & D. Silverman (Eds.), Qualitative research practice (Paperback). Sage Publications

Minowa, Y. (2012). Practicing Qi and consuming Ki: Folk epistemology and consumption rituals in Japan. Marketing Theory, 12(1), 27–44.

Mitroff, I. I. (1998). On the fundamental importance of ethical management: Why management is the most important of all human activities. Journal of Management Inquiry, 7(1), 68–79.

Nonaka, I. (1994). A dynamic theory of organizational knowledge creation. Organization Science, 5(1), 14–37.

Nonaka, I., & Konno, N. (1998). The concept of “Ba”: Building a foundation for knowledge creation. California Management Review, 40(3), 40–54.

Nonaka, I., & Takeuchi, H. (2019). The wise company: How companies create continuous innovation. Oxford University Press.

Pawar, B. S. (2017). The relationship of individual spirituality and organizational spirituality with meaning and community at work: an empirical examination of the direct effects and moderating effect models. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 38(7), 986–1003.

Podsakoff, P., MacKenzie, S., Bachrach, D., & Podsakoff, N. (2005). The influence of management journals in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Strategic Management Journal, 26, 473–488.

Polanyi, M. (1966). The tacit dimension. Anchor Day.

Poole, E. (2009). Organisational spirituality - a literature review. Journal of Business Ethics, 84(4), 577–588.

Pourmola, M. H. P., Bagheri, M., Alinezhad, P., Peyravi Nejad, Z., Nejad, Z. P., Peyravi Nejad, Z., & Nejad, Z. P. (2019). Investigating the impact of organizational spirituality on human resources productivity in manufacturing organizations. Management Science Letters, 9(1), 121–132.

Quatro, S. A. (2004). New age or age old: Classical management theory and traditional organized religion as underpinnings of the contemporary organizational spirituality movement. Human Resource Development Review, 3(3), 228–249.

Rahman, M. S., Osman-Gani, A. M., Momen, M. A., & Islam, N. (2015). Testing knowledge sharing effectiveness: trust, motivation, leadership style, workplace spirituality and social network embedded model. Management & Marketing. Challenges for the Knowdledge Society, 10(4), 284–303.

Rahman, M. S., Osmangani, A. M., Daud, N. M., Chowdhury, A. H., & Hassan, H. (2015). Trust and work place spirituality on knowledge sharing behaviour: Perspective from non-academic staff of higher learning institutions. The Learning Organization, 22(6), 317–332.

Rocha, R. G., & Pinheiro, P. G. (2020). Organizational spirituality: Concept and perspectives. Journal of Business Ethics.

Rowley, J. (2006). Where is the wisdom that we have lost in knowledge? Journal of Documentation, 62(2), 251–270.

Sharma, R. R. (2019). Evolving a model of sustainable leadership: An ex-post facto research. Vision, 23(2), 152–169.

Snyder, H. (2019). Literature review as a research methodology: An overview and guidelines. Journal of Business Research, 104(August), 333–339.

Steingard, D. S. (2005). Spiritually-informed management theory: Toward profound possibilities for inquiry and transformation. Journal of Management Inquiry, 14(3), 227–241.

Supriyanto, A. S., Sujianto, A. E., & Ekowati, V. M. (2020). Factors affecting innovative work behavior: Mediating role of knowledge sharing and job crafting. Journal of Asian Finance, Economics and Business, 7(11), 999–1007.

Tecchio, E., Cunha, C. J. C. de A., & Brand, J. L. (2018). Spirituality in organization and knowledge creation. Organizações Em Contexto, São Bernardo Do Campo, 14(27), 397–426.

Tejeda, M. J. (2015). Exploring the supportive effects of spiritual well-being on job satisfaction given adverse work conditions. Journal of Business Ethics, 131(1), 173–181.

Thorpe, R., Holt, R., & MacPherson, A. (2005). Using knowledge within small and medium-sized firms: A systematic review of the evidence. Journal of Management Reviews, 7(4), 257–281.

Tranfield, D., Denyer, D., & Smart, P. (2003). Towards a methodology for developing evidence-informed management. British Journal of Management, 14, 207–222.

Ul-Haq, S. (2020). Spiritual development and meaningful work: a Habermasian critique. Human Resource Development International, 23(2), 125–145.

Van Eck, N. J., & Waltman, L. (2010). Software survey: VOSviewer, a computer program for bibliometric mapping. Scientometrics, 84(2), 523–538.

Wang, S., & Noe, R. A. (2010). Knowledge sharing: A review and directions for future research. Human Resource Management Review, 20(2), 115–131.

Wiig, K. (1993). Knowledge management foundation: Thinking about thinking - how people and organizations create, represent, and use knowledge. Schema Press.

Zaidman, N., & Goldstein-Gidoni, O. (2011). Spirituality as a discarded form of organizational wisdom: Field-based analysis. Group and Organization Management, 36(5), 630–653.

Zupic, I., & Čater, T. (2015). Bibliometric methods in management and organization. Organizational Research Methods, 18(3), 429–472.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2021 Management Dynamics in the Knowledge Economy

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

© Faculty of Management (SNSPA)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under CC BY-NC

The opinions expressed in the papers published are the authors’ own and do not necessarily express the views of the editors of this journal. The authors assume all responsibility for the ideas expressed in the materials published.

ISSN 2392-8042 (online)