Original Research

Workplace spirituality, work engagement and thriving at work

Freda van der Walt
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 44 | a1457 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v44i0.1457 | © 2018 Freda van der Walt | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 April 2017 | Published: 17 January 2018

About the author(s)

Freda van der Walt, Department of Business Management, Central University of Technology, South Africa

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Orientation: In order to create competitive advantage in an increasingly turbulent economic environment, sustainability of high performance is crucial. Only a few individuals have the drive, mindset, discipline and ability to sustain high performance on a daily basis. Thus, it is necessary to consider what can be done so that employees can sustain high performance over the long term.

Research purpose: The purpose of the study was to establish whether spiritual workplaces will enhance employees’ work engagement and thriving at work.

Motivation for the study: Two important mechanisms for understanding the human dimension of sustainability are thriving at work and work engagement. However, because work engagement and thriving are affective-motivational states, it is necessary to consider contextual factors that promote these positive states. As work engagement and thriving at work move beyond mere energy, to a sense of connectedness, it seems important that spiritual workplaces are created.

Research approach, design and method: The study was quantitative in nature, and data were collected from employees working at small, medium and macro enterprises (SMMEs) in one geographical area in South Africa. The final sample consisted of 259 employees. A survey that was cross-sectional in nature was conducted by means of a self-administered questionnaire.

Main findings: The findings of the study show that there is a positive and significant relationship between workplace spirituality, work engagement and thriving at work. Furthermore, workplace spirituality significantly influences the variance in both work engagement and thriving at work.

Practical or managerial implications: In order for SMMEs to promote work engagement and thriving at work, spiritual workplaces need to be created. Furthermore, emphasis needs to be placed on the work experience, rather than on work outcomes. It is also important that SMMEs develop employees holistically, that they create spiritually based organisational cultures and that they pay more attention to relationship management and networking.

Contribution or value-add: The study contributes to the literature on workplace spirituality, work engagement and thriving at work.


workplace spirituality; SMMEs; thriving at work; work engagement


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