Uncovering spirituality as a means to prevent managerial blind spots

Coetzee, Pierre (2008-03)

Thesis (MBA (Business Management))--University of Stellenbosch, 2008.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Managerial blind spots are business realities that impact the organisation and its employees adversely. Managers are susceptible to their prejudices and ignorance and are not aware that they are sometimes biased when making decisions. All humans have blind spots that impact their functioning. This paper describes the link between blind spots and a person’s conscious and unconscious behaviour. Blind spots are entrenched in the psyche and not easily dismissed. Cognitive dissonance, naïve realism, the introspection illusion and the unconscious role in non-rational behaviour argue strongly that it is not easy to eliminate blind spots. Though internal and cognitive processes are important in understanding the origin of blind spots, they also flourish in the environment. Factors that influence the formation of blind spots include managerial competence, fellow employees and information quality. There are numerous definitions of and approaches to spirituality. When considering the potential value of spirituality within a business context, specifically in relation to blind spots, it is necessary to define spirituality clearly. There is widespread consensus that spirituality is not a synonym for religion. Though there are numerous definitions for spirituality, it has been discovered there are common themes that can be distilled from all the definitions. The essence of spirituality can be described in six terms: love, authenticity, simplicity, silence, living in the present (now) and gratitude. Common spiritual themes include self-awareness, interconnectedness and wholeness. It is in these spiritual themes that managers could unlock the potential value to address managerial blind spots. Managers who are less self-aware are also more susceptible to blind spots. Through various spiritual practices, managers could grow in self-awareness and increase their mental health (e.g. mindfulness and meditation). Some spiritual practices focus on interconnectedness and wholeness which will increase the likelihood of eliminating prejudice and bias (e.g. practising loving-kindness). The leader who employs a spiritual approach to leadership will not only change himself, but will have a positive impact on fellow employees and the organisation. Various organisations where a spiritual approach has been implemented by the leadership have benefited and are considered success stories. The leader has a perfect opportunity to implement a spiritual approach to work, since it dovetails with the emerging paradigm and the future requirements of work. Seeing and implementing the opportunities offered by a spiritual approach, will not only help the leader to address his or her managerial blind spots, but will also benefit the leader, fellow workers, the organisation and society as a whole.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Blinde kolle in die bestuurswêreld is ‘n realiteit wat die organisasie en sy werkers negatief beïnvloed. Bestuurders is bevooroordeeld en onkundig. Hulle besef nie altyd dat hulle besluite beïnvloed word deur hulle vooroordele nie. Alle mense het blinde kolle wat hulle funksionering beïnvloed. Hierdie studie beskryf die verband tussen blinde kolle en ‘n persoon se bewustelike en onbewustelike gedrag. Blinde kolle is deel van die psige en kan nie maklik mee weggedoen word nie. Kognitiewe dissonansie, naïewe realisme, die introspeksie illusie en die onbewuste se rol in irrasionele gedrag maak dit duidelik dat dit moeilik is om van blinde kolle ontslae te raak. Alhoewel interne en kognitiewe prosesse belangrik is vir die verstaan van die oorsprong van blinde kolle, is dit ook waar dat hulle in die onmiddellike omgewing floreer. Verskeie faktore beïnvloed die ontstaan van blinde kolle, soos ‘n bestuurder se vaardigheidsvlakke, medewerkers en die kwaliteit van inligting. Daar is verskeie definisies van en aanslagte tot spiritualiteit. Wanneer die moontlike waarde van spiritualiteit in ‘n besigheidskonteks oorweeg word, moet dit duidelik gedefinieer word. Daar is redelike konsensus dat spiritualiteit nie met godsdiens verwar moet word nie. Verder blyk dit duidelik dat, ten spyte van die vele definisies vir spiritualiteit, daar sekere temas keer op keer opduik. Die essensie van spiritualiteit kan in ses konsepte saamgevat word: liefde, egtheid, eenvoud, stilte, lewe in die hede (die nou) en dankbaarheid. Gemeenskaplike spirituele temas sluit self-bewuswording, interverbondenheid en heelheid in. Deur middel van hierdie spirituele temas kan bestuurders die moontlike waarde van spiritualiteit ontsluit om hulle blinde kolle aan te spreek. Bestuurders wat laer vlakke van self-bewuswording het, is meer geneig tot blinde kolle. Deur middel van verskeie spirituele praktyke kan bestuurders groei in hulle self-bewuswording en hulle geestesgesondheid (bv. deur meditasie) verbeter. Sommige spirituele praktyke fokus weer op interverbondenheid en heelheid wat vooroordele kan verminder. Die leier wat werk met ‘n spirituele aanslag benader, sal nie net homself verander nie, maar ook medewerkers en die organisasie as ‘n geheel. Verskeie organisasies waar leiers ‘n spirituele aanslag gevolg het, het daarby gebaat en kan as suksesverhale beskou word. Die leier het die beste geleentheid om werk met ‘n spirituele aanslag te benader, aangesien die ontluikende paradigma agslaan op spirituele waardes. Deur die geleenthede wat die spirituele aanslag bied aan te gryp, sal die leier nie alleen self daarby baat vind nie, maar ook medewerkers, die organisasie, en die samelewing in die algemeen.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/811
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