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Dunia Harajli Berry

DBA Graduate - 2016

Thesis title

Workplace Spirituality in a University Setting: The Case of Business Schools.


Vassili Joannides

Dunia Harajli is an assistant professor at the Lebanese American University (LAU). Her teaching career (since 2008) includes courses in management, business communication, marketing, integrated marketing communication, international marketing, and, most recently, neuromarketing. She also coordinates and teaches civic engagement courses. Her research interests include workplace spirituality, empathy at work, business ethics education, brands and spirituality, neuromarketing, and Grounded Theory.

The aim of this dissertation is to answer how Workplace Spirituality (WPS) facilitates the mission of a business school. Adopting a philosophical interdisciplinary approach building on a theoretical framework borrowing from the works of prominent thinkers and philosophers, findings are immersed within earlier contributions. The objectives of this thesis were reached through a Grounded Theory approach, thereby filling a gap in the literature by disclosing the main stages of the grounded theory process. In so doing, I open for future research dealing with the consistency of grounded theory and its contribution to knowledge. This approach was applied through a study of 48 business professors in four diverse universities in Lebanon assessing their level of spirituality/religion and their connection with personal/work expectations, work performance, identification with the mission and community, showing how living out one’s beliefs at the workplace can be the main source of employee satisfaction. I found that religious universities are for workplace spirituality a natural habitat. Workplace spirituality is found to emerge on three levels (Personal-organizational-community), and is facilitated by a lived religious mission. On the other hand, universities shying away from spiritual/religious missions do not live their Supreme mission of education, leaving faculty members depressed and unfulfilled. These findings have practical implications to both universities and the corporate world alike. First, they advise universities to go back to their religious roots for the sake of faculty satisfaction and student self-awareness; and second, they provide insights to any organizations that neglect the spiritual/religious aspects of their employees. Social implications are applicable with respect to business school graduates taught by spiritual/religious and who will have a direct impact on the corporate world. Suggestions for future research can be the ways business students view WPS in light of their business school. KEYWORDS: Workplace Spirituality- Spirituality/Religion- University mission- Business school education- work