Publication Details

This article was originally published as: Fernando, M & Jackson, B, The influence of religion-based workplace spirituality on business leaders’ decision-making: An inter-faith study, Journal of Management & Organization, 2006, 12(1), 23–39. Copyright eContent Management Pty Ltd, 2006. The original journal can be found here.


The paper reports the findings of thirteen interviews with prominent Sri Lankan business leaders drawn from Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, and Muslim religious traditions. The in-depth interviews with the leaders were supplemented by documentary sources. When the leaders were asked why they engaged in religion-based workplace spirituality, their responses were often associated with decision-making. Although they had an array of management tools with which to deal with day-to-day management situations, they all indicated that, in ‘difficult’ moments, these tools needed to be complemented by processes by which they connected with the ultimate – variously identified as the transcendent reality, god, or truth that is more powerful, better, and good. The outcomes of decisions, both good and bad, were usually attributed to that connecting experience. The findings suggest that religion plays a significant role in influencing the judgment, emotional and motivational qualities of Sri Lankan leaders’ decision-making – in that a frame of eference based on a connection with a transcendent and ultimate reality is likely to be a source of solace, guidance, and inspiration to leaders’ critical decision-making.



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