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The Emerald Handbook of Management and Organization Inquiry Spirituality and Management Research and the Seven Ss Jerry Biberman, Downloaded by University Library At 21:26 03 July 2019 (PT) Article information: To cite this document: Jerry Biberman, "Spirituality and Management Research and the Seven Ss" In The Emerald Handbook of Management and Organization Inquiry. Published online: 20 May 2019; 77-87. Permanent link to this document: https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-78714-551-120191006 Downloaded on: 03 July 2019, At: 21:26 (PT) References: this document contains references to 0 other documents. 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The organization is a partner of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and also works with Portico and the LOCKSS initiative for digital archive preservation. *Related content and download information correct at time of download. SPIRIT SPIRITUALITY AND MANAGEMENT RESEARCH AND THE SEVEN Ss Jerry Biberman Downloaded by University Library At 21:26 03 July 2019 (PT) ABSTRACT The general topic of spirituality and the ways in which spirituality in organizations was studied and reported on have re; ceived mixed reactions (ranging from positive to puzzled to skeptical to negative) from sc’Moi participants, many of whom were European critical management theorists, and management researchers in other divisions when the Management Spirituality and Religion group was started at the Academy of Management. In this chapter I examine how these management research differences in approaches to ontology and epistemology were inﬂuenced by the philosophical approaches of Hegel and Marx, and how similar differences also inﬂuenced psychological research, whose approach to research and research methodology forms the basis of much management research. I will examine how these contrasting beliefs have played out and continue to play out in such seemingly diverse but really similar subjects of inquiry as philosophy (e.g., Hegel vs Marx), psychology (e.g., introspection vs behaviorism), and management studies (e.g., management organization inquiry vs critical management). I examine what these approaches have in common, how, in my opinion, the behaviorists have so far prevailed, and why they have so far prevailed; I conclude with suggestions for how ongoing dialectics between the seven Ss (the seven themes elaborated on in this book storytelling, system, sustainability, science, spirit, spirals, and sociomateriality) can help contribute to the ﬁeld of spirituality in management, and how spirituality research can contribute and interact with the other themes to the future of management and organizational inquiry. Keywords: Spirituality; ontology; epistemology; Hegel; Marx; introspection; behaviorism; storytelling The Emerald Handbook of Management and Organization Inquiry, 77 87 Copyright r 2019 by Emerald Publishing Limited All rights of reproduction in any form reserved doi:10.1108/978-1-78714-551-120191006 77 78 JERRY BIBERMAN When I ﬁrst originated the Spirituality track at IABD and sc’Moi and helped to originate its later incarnation as the Management Spirituality and Religion track at the Academy of Management, I was interested in studying how a person’s own personal experience of spirituality (e.g., spiritual experiences or practices a person had, a person’s level of consciousness or experience of consciousness, “spiritual awakening” or “aha experiences”) might inﬂuence how she or he behaved in a management setting or how they inﬂuenced the way the person might structure or manage an organization. This interest was sparked by my own personal spiritual experiences. Downloaded by University Library At 21:26 03 July 2019 (PT) BIRTH OF THE IABD (LATER SC’MOI) SPIRITUALITY TRACK The Spirituality in Organizations track of the International Academy of Business Disciplines (IABD), and later of sc’Moi, grew out of my personal interests in and experiences with spirituality. I had been serving as proceedings co-editor and my colleague Len Tischler had been serving as the IABD’s newsletter editor. We both had had a long previous interest in spirituality, and both had been personally practicing meditation and other spiritual practices for over 20 years. We had both also been personal friends of the IABD’s executive director (Abbass Alkhafaji, a devout Muslim) and had good working relations with the association’s ofﬁcers, program directors, and other track chairs. With the permission of the program chair and the executive director, the track was ﬁrst included in the IABD’s 1997 conference call for papers. That year, four papers and several workshops were presented at the annual conference in Orlando. The papers were also published in the IABD’s 1997 Business Research Yearbook (Biberman & Alkhafaji, 1997). The Spirituality in Organizations track was listed in the call for papers and included in the Business Research Yearbook every year from 1997 until sc’Moi split off from IABD. When sc’Moi split off to form a separate organization, I and the Spirituality track moved over to sc’Moi. Track sessions at each IABD conference were well attended and received. Spirituality track presenters began to collaborate in writing and research with other people who had presented at or attended the IABD and sc’Moi spirituality in organizations track sessions. In addition, they contacted, and began to collaborate with, other researchers whose names were mentioned by people at the track sessions. These collaborations led to journal article submissions and workshop and paper presentations at other conferences most notably, at the Academy of Management. They led to my co-founding the Management, Spirituality, and Religion interest group at the Academy of Management (AoM) and serving as the editor of the Journal of Management, Spirituality and Religion for its ﬁrst 10 years of publication. Spirituality and Management Research and the Seven Ss 79 Downloaded by University Library At 21:26 03 July 2019 (PT) RECEPTION OF SPIRITUALITY AT SC’MOI SESSIONS When we moved from IABD to sc’Moi, the general topic of spirituality and the ways in which spirituality in organizations was studied and reported on received mixed reactions (ranging from positive to puzzled to skeptical to negative) from the other sc’Moi participants, many of whom were European critical management theorists. This reception of spirituality foreshadowed the way in which the topic and research methodology was also viewed by management researchers in other divisions when the Management Spirituality and Religion group was started at the Academy of Management. In this chapter I examine how these management research differences in approaches to ontology and epistemology were inﬂuenced by the philosophical approaches of Hegel and Marx, and how similar differences also inﬂuenced psychological research, whose approach to research and research methodology forms the basis of much management research. I examine how these contrasting beliefs have played out and continue to play out in such seemingly diverse but really similar subjects of inquiry as philosophy (e.g., Hegel vs Marx), psychology (e.g., introspection vs behaviorism), and management studies (e.g., management organization inquiry vs critical management). I also examine what these approaches have in common, how, in my opinion, the behaviorists have so far prevailed, why they have so far prevailed, and will conclude with suggestions for how ongoing dialectics between the seven Ss (the seven themes elaborated on in this book storytelling, system, sustainability, science, spirit, spirals, and sociomateriality) can help contribute to the ﬁeld of spirituality in management, and how spirituality research can contribute and interact with the other themes to the future of Management and Organizational Inquiry. ONTOLOGY AND EPISTEMOLOGY Throughout human history philosophers and scientists have been concerned with and questioned the nature of “man” or humans. There has been a continuing tension between those who believe that humans are only what can be externally observed by their behaviors and those who believe that humans have a rich inner life and are connected to something greater than themselves. These differing beliefs have led to opposing ways of believing about the nature and function of a human being and how one can examine or know about the nature and function of a human being. Philosophers refer to these differing beliefs as “ontology” (what we believe about the nature and function of a human being) and “epistemology” (what we believe that counts for knowledge and evidence i.e., methods of inquiry or research). PHILOSOPHICAL APPROACHES (E.G., HEGEL VS MARX) Human history can be thought of philosophically as a continuous swing back and forth between extremes (dialectics) leading to eventual movement followed Downloaded by University Library At 21:26 03 July 2019 (PT) 80 JERRY BIBERMAN by more swings leading to some movement. Philosophers throughout history have referred to these swings by different names and have developed different ways of studying or conceiving of these swings. In this chapter, I contrast Hegel’s approach to dialectics and the place of spirit in them with Marx’s approach and show how these two approaches relate to the discussion and study of spirituality in management inquiry. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel introduced a system for understanding the history of philosophy and the world itself, often called a “dialectic”: a progression in which each successive movement emerges as a solution to the contradictions inherent in the preceding movement. Hegel considered the dialectic to represent the manner in which the spirit (or, in German, geist) develops gradually into its purest form, ultimately attaining unto its own essential freedom. Geist is a German word which has all the meanings of the English words spirit, mind, soul and the French word esprit. Hegel considered geist to be a total reality that is an inherent unity of a mental or spiritual nature, or spirit/mind together. Hegel considered world history to be the unfolding of spirit in time. Hegel described the role of geist in dialectics in several books. In Hegel’s Science of Logic, Hegel said that the goal of spirit is freedom, which freedom needs to be expressed and reﬂected in order to be really free. He stated further, however, the full meaning of freedom can be found out only progressively, only in a process that becomes clearer in the life of the individual (subjective spirit) as well as for societies (ethical life) as they evolve or develop, as well as for humanity in general (e.g., the progress of world history and absolute spirit). For Hegel, a process of increasing freedom already is in a dynamic sense the full actuality of freedom (Froeb, 2003 2005). While some schools of thought inﬂuenced by Hegel tend to see history as progressive, Hegel’s view was more that history was a possibly painfully arrived at outcome of a dialectic in which factors working in opposite directions are over time reconciled. History was best seen as directed by a zeitgeist, or Spirit of the Age, and traces of the zeitgest could be seen by looking backward. David Boje described the inﬂuence of spirit on Hegel’s dialectics as follows: For Hegel Spirit is dialectical in relations to systems of knowledge quest to become science. System and science are about abstraction, schemata purporting to displace experience, and yet the experience of Spirit its manifestation in ethical substance, in action (enacted), is how the abstract system/science gains existence in some meaningful way […] Hegel opens space in management studies for spirit and how it manifests in organizing. Spirit is a process and can begin with surface then moves into culture world then onto things. Hegel is telling of spirit in world not hereafter. There are many spirits not all moving same directions. (D. M. Boje, Personal Communication, July 20, 2016) Hegel’s emphasis on the importance of the “zeitgeist” in interpreting and determining behavior (ontology) opens up the argument for and the possibility of studying and understanding human behavior by examining a person’s internal Spirituality and Management Research and the Seven Ss 81 Downloaded by University Library At 21:26 03 July 2019 (PT) personal experience not just observable behaviors (epistemology) and for using a variety of qualitative and creative research designs from a variety of disciplines. Karl Marx adapted Hegel’s dialectic away from being related to the unfolding of spirit and toward Marx’s own materialist conception of history, where only the economic factors of human society and the associated social relations would critically determine the unfolding of human history. In contrast to Hegel, Marx argued for the importance of studying purely behaviors or behavioral outcomes, thus banishing the examination of spirit and all that that implies in terms of studying spirit in its various dimensions. Boje described mainstream management organization’s inquiry (MOI) reaction to Marx and his inﬂuence as follows: Dialectics is deﬁned here as the simple negativity of positive, the doubling of negative with positive that sets up the opposition, the conﬂict, and the power diversity of MOI. As Hegle (8071807: #18) puts it, “simple negativity” sets up a doubling, “and then again the negation of this indifferent diversity and antithesis.” It is precisely this dialectic that MOI lacks, has avoided, so as not to appear Marxist. I am Hegelian and not Marxist, so MOI need have no worries on that score. Action is the process of its own becoming, and only when MOI comes out of its one-sided positivity (be it positivism or positive thinking) will a theory of action be possible in all its currents and countercurrents. MOI’s horror about dialectics of action, it’s abhorrence of the negative has let a virus spread, with many action results. It is the virus Savall and Zardet, and recently when book Amandine co-authored, Agile^, points out, the self-moving selfsame nests, which is also the fractality that Tonya Henderson and I have written about (Boje & Henderson, 2014; Henderson & Boje, 2016). This is the virus called Taylorism-Fayolism-Weberism (TFW virus as Savall and Zardet) call it. It is the TKFW fractal as Henderson and I call it. Since MOI is so obsessed with monotonous formalism, abstract one-liners, there is no actual study of the counterfractals, the counter-forces to the TFW viral fractal. Without studying the doubling process the dialectics of self-moving action, there is only epidemic of MOI, unrestrained, without refutation. (Boje, 2016a, 2016b). Marx’s inﬂuence and corresponding rejection of Hegel can be seen in the reactions to the studying of spirituality in management of two groups of researchers at sc’Moi (and also later at the Academy of Management): (1) Traditional researchers who were heavily inﬂuenced by behavioral psychologists (as will be discussed in the next section), who rejected both the ontology and epistemology of the examination of the inﬂuence of spirit in management and organizations, viewing the examination of spirit and the study of spirit using introspection and other non-behavioral methods (including various kinds of “qualitative” as opposed to quantitative research) as unscientiﬁc or “ﬂaky.” (2) Critical management theorists (particularly those at sc’Moi from Europe) who considered spirituality or any technique inﬂuenced by spirituality as another possible way in which management could try to control workers. 82 JERRY BIBERMAN Downloaded by University Library At 21:26 03 July 2019 (PT) PSYCHOLOGICAL APPROACHES (INTROSPECTION VS BEHAVIORISM) The ﬁeld of psychology has had a heavy inﬂuence on management research in terms of both ontology and epistemology. Similar to the differences between followers of Hegel and Marx in philosophy, the main differences in approach for psychologists have been between those psychologists such as Maslow and William James who argued for the importance of internal observation of one’s own personal experience and those psychologists who argued for the importance of studying purely behaviors or behavioral outcomes. This emphasis on behavior as opposed to introspection is very much the approach in psychology of Thorndike and BF Skinner and the other behaviorists, which, I believe, have largely inﬂuenced the research approach of most psychologists (until very recently) and is behind the heavy emphasis on standard empirical research in management as advocated by most members and most reviewers in the Academy of Management. The approach has even largely inﬂuenced so-called qualitative research, which still has a mostly behavioral bent. INFLUENCE ON MANAGEMENT THEORY AND RESEARCH As I described above, management theory and research methodology have been largely inﬂuenced by the theories and techniques of the social sciences particularly those of psychology. In both psychology and in management research we can see a similar type of dialectic as was described in philosophy by Hegel and others in this case, the dialectic swings between emphasis on behavior versus emphasis on examination of internal states, with the resolution being the development of “qualitative” research approaches, which attempt to use the types of thinking behind quantitative behavioral research (especially the emphasis on “rigor” in terms of data collection and analysis) to develop alternate non-behavioral more internal research methodologies. Management philosophy and training have also shown an ongoing dialectic swinging between concern for people and concern for production (e.g., theory x vs theory y and various similar iterations over the years). The recent interest in spirituality in management can be seen as a dialectical reaction to the sterility of quantitative behavioral research, which some spirituality researchers argue does not examine internal states of consciousness or reactions to spiritual practices and approaches. Traditional management researchers whose training in research was heavily inﬂuenced by behavioral psychologists rejected both the ontology and epistemology of the examination of the inﬂuence of spirit in management and organizations. They were taught Spirituality and Management Research and the Seven Ss 83 Downloaded by University Library At 21:26 03 July 2019 (PT) to view the examination of spirit and the study of spirit using introspection and other non-behavioral methods (including various kinds of “qualitative” methods as opposed to quantitative research) as unscientiﬁc or “ﬂaky.” In my opinion, the behaviorists have so far prevailed, for reasons I will now examine. 1. The preferences of reviewers for major management journals Journal editors serve as the “gate keepers” for the types of manuscripts that get published in their journals. Even when journal submissions are “blind reviewed” the editor usually knows both the names of the submitters and the names and preferences of the reviewers to whom a manuscript is sent. In most cases, the editor makes the initial decision (and so does the initial reading of a manuscript) as to even whether a manuscript should be sent off for review or rejected without being sent for review. If an editor has a bias for a certain type of research methodology or a prejudice against a certain research subject, the editor can either reject the manuscript before submitting it for review or send it to reviewers who have similar biases to the editor. In this way, manuscripts using more creative types or less mainstream types of methodology may not even make it to the review stage or be given an unbiased review. 2. The desire for spirituality researchers to be recognized (i.e., taken seriously and not thought of as ﬂaky or kooky) by mainstream management researchers Spirituality researchers, like all researchers, have the human tendency to want to have their research be taken seriously by their colleagues in the management research academic area, and they ﬁnd it difﬁcult to hear their research interests being attacked as “ﬂaky” or “kooky” or not being taken seriously as a serious ﬁeld of inquiry by their colleagues. This becomes especially important when their work is being evaluated for tenure or promotion, or as to whether it qualiﬁes as counting toward being “academically qualiﬁed” for business school certiﬁcation, as will be further explored in the next sections. One of the criteria for becoming a division in the AoM is that research in the area be published in major AoM journals. If the editors of those journals have a bias against the research topic or methodology, it becomes difﬁcult for the research to become accepted for publication in those journals. Another way in which a stream of research can be seen as mainstream is whether it becomes included in syllabi of business school courses (or itself becomes a separate course) and whether the topic is mentioned in business course textbooks. Thus, for spirituality to be considered mainstream we would expect to see it as a topic mentioned in a management or organization behavior textbook or as part of a management or organization behavior Downloaded by University Library At 21:26 03 July 2019 (PT) 84 JERRY BIBERMAN course outline. While there are a small number of business schools that have separate courses on spirituality, and several that include spirituality in their management or organization behavior courses, I am not aware of any management or organization behavior textbooks that explicitly mention the topic of spirituality or have a description of any spirituality researchers or their research. 3. The increasing emphasis in business schools on the school receiving accreditation by such accrediting institutions as AACSB Business school accrediting agencies such as AACSB have been placing increasing emphasis on faculty publishing several articles each year in peerreviewed academic journals in order to remain “academically qualiﬁed.” Many business schools rate the academic journals that they would prefer their faculty to publish in on the “quality” of the journal, with quality usually being equated with the percentage of journal submissions that get accepted for publication. “Top-tier” journals tend to have very low acceptance rates and emphasize traditional empirical management research methodology. 4. The lack of support from academic institutions for spirituality research, with many researchers believing they need to wait until they have tenure to begin pursuing it The emphasis on business school faculty to publish annually in top-tier management publications in order for the business schools to receive and maintain accreditation has contributed to researchers (especially younger untenured faculty) being reticent to even attempt to do spirituality research, at least until they have received tenure. Even after receiving tenure, they may ﬁnd the number of publishing outlets for spirituality research insufﬁcient to maintain the required number of annual publications to remain academically qualiﬁed. As more academic institutions are moving away from granting tenure to instead only granting renewable teaching contracts, the pressure to publish in mainstream publications on mainstream topics using traditionally accepted empirical research methodologies may make the ability to do research on spirituality in management even more difﬁcult. 5. The lack of good qualitative methods developed so far to study spirituality in other than behavioral ways For the reasons that I have detailed above, spirituality researchers have yet to really develop or use any new or creative qualitative methods to study spirituality. In other publications (e.g., Biberman, 2013, 2014) I have suggested that researchers look at techniques that have been developed and used in other related academic disciplines such as psychology, sociology, and anthropology to see if those techniques could be adapted for use in spirituality in management research. Particularly useful would be research methodology that could examine states of consciousness and other subjective psychological experiences as well as techniques involving introspection and self-reﬂection other than Likert scales on surveys. Spirituality and Management Research and the Seven Ss 85 Downloaded by University Library At 21:26 03 July 2019 (PT) POSSIBLE INFLUENCE OF THE SEVEN SS ON SPIRITUALITY RESEARCH AND HOW SPIRITUALITY RESEARCH CAN INFLUENCE THE SEVEN SS AND THE TRANSFORMATION OF MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATIONAL INQUIRY David Boje has identiﬁed seven themes (which he calls the seven Ss) as emerging from the 25 years of discourse and debates at the Standing Conference for Management and Organizational Inquiry (sc’Moi). These are the seven themes that are elaborated on in this book. They are storytelling, system, sustainability, science, spirit, spirals, and sociomateriality. Boje believes that the ongoing dialectics between these themes has made an important transition and transformation of Management and Organizational Inquiry. I will now identify ways in which ongoing dialectics between each of the themes can help contribute to the ﬁeld of spirituality in management, and how spirituality research can contribute with the other themes to the future of Management and Organizational Inquiry. While spirituality was not involved with every sc’Moi conference, and while I was not present at sc’Moi conferences where all of the seven themes were in play, it seems to me that each of the seven themes and (as Boje describes in the Preface) the myriad of ways in which the seven themes can interact have much to contribute to each other and to the overall ﬁeld of Management and Organizational Inquiry. These possible contributions are many and include: (1) The dialectics that emerge from discussions among proponents of each theme As Boje says in the Preface to this book “during the 25 years of sc’Moi’s existence I experienced their debates, their dance, and most of all their dialectic. This is not the dialectic ending in synthesis, rather an ongoing proliferation of counternarratives (negations of each negation), without End. Each counternarrative holds concrete ground in the characters attending sc’Moi, who stand their ground.” Discussions among the presenters, especially those arguing for and presenting from differing points of view, can lead to new syntheses among the approaches. As an example of this, critical management theorists (particularly those at sc’Moi from Europe) who considered spirituality or any technique inﬂuenced by spirituality as another possible way in which management could try to control workers got to challenge these critical positions by seeing other more positive ways in which spirituality could inﬂuence management practice and research. (2) The research methodology that proponents of each theme have developed and presented at sc’Moi conferences Presenters at sc’Moi conferences have described a variety of different and interesting research methodologies derived from a number of academic disciplines other than psychology (most notably to me being philosophy, literature, and drama) and have presented their research ideas and ﬁndings in a variety of non-traditional (at least if compared to an AoM conference) ways. The Downloaded by University Library At 21:26 03 July 2019 (PT) 86 JERRY BIBERMAN ongoing dialectics between proponents of each theme can lead to the emergence of new and unusual research questions and ways of answering these questions. (3) The ways in which proponents of each theme have written about these themes and the written papers and books emerging from the dialectics among the themes could potentially inﬂuence the broader academic ﬁeld of management research It seems like almost every year at the AoM conference the outgoing president gives a presidential address in which she or he asks how the research presented at AoM meetings and published in AoM journals can have more of an impact on actual managers and organizations. It seems that most managers do not read academic journals containing sophisticated statistical analysis of empirical research. And yet, it is this type of research in an academic journal that has a very low acceptance of submissions rate (as described above) that is currently most valued by management departments in universities and their accrediting agencies (such as AACSB). I believe that as the dialectics that emerge between the seven themes ﬁnd outlets in books (as opposed to academic journal articles) such as the current one and other publishing and information dissemination outlets, universities and accrediting agencies will become more accepting of these more “non-traditional” or “non-academic” other publishing and information dissemination outlets for tenure and promotion and academic qualiﬁcation accreditation. (4) The ways in which proponents of each theme and the themes emerging from the dialectics among the themes could potentially inﬂuence the actual structure, management, and leadership of organizations I believe that as the dialectics that emerge between the seven themes ﬁnd outlets in books (as opposed to academic journal articles) such as the current one and other publishing and information dissemination outlets, managers and organization leaders will begin to pay more attention to the content of what emerges from the interactions and syntheses of these themes. This will be especially true if the way in which the material discussed and the ways in which it is presented appear to be more meaningful and to have personal applicability and meaning to the manager or leader who is reading or exposed to the material. This is an area in which themes and approaches such as spirituality and storytelling can be most useful and applicable in potentially inﬂuencing the actual structure, management, and leadership of organizations. REFERENCES Biberman, J. (2013). Quo vadis: Where are we and where are we going? In J. Neal (Ed.), Handbook of faith and spirituality in the workplace: Emerging research and practice (pp. 713 716). New York, NY: Springer. Biberman, J. (2014). Spirituality in organizations: Parallels with spirituality in other disciplines Toward a coherent theory. In E. Hense, F. Jespers, & P. Nissen (Eds.), Present day spiritualities: Contrasts and overlaps (pp. 103 112). Lieden: Brill. Spirituality and Management Research and the Seven Ss 87 Downloaded by University Library At 21:26 03 July 2019 (PT) Biberman, J., & Alkhafaji, A. (Eds.). (1997). Business research yearbook: Global business perspectives. Proceedings of the Ninth Annual International Conference of the International Academy of Business Disciplines, Volume 4. (Orlando, Florida, April 10 13, 1997). Slippery Rock, PA: International Academy of Business Disciplines. Boje, D. M. (2016a, June 21). Spirit and science of management and organization inquiry [Web log message]. Antenarrative Blog. Boje, D. M. (2016b, June 22). What is triadic dialectic for management and organization inquiry [Web log message]. Antenarrative Blog. Boje, D. M., & Henderson, T. L. (Eds.). (2014). Being quantum: Ontological storytelling in the age of antenarrative. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Froeb, K. (2003 2005). Philosophy of spirit/mind (geist). Retrieved from http://www.hegel.net/en/ spirit.htm Henderson, T. L., & Boje, D. M. (2016). Organizational development and change theory: Managing fractal organizing processes. London: Routledge.