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A community engaged in interdisciplinary theoretical & applied research & pedagogy related to the relevance and relationship of spirituality and religion in management

The MSR Hall of Fame presents:
Judi Neal, PhD.

Please introduce yourself? 
All my life I have been a spiritual person although I kept it personal and private until I was in my forties and went through a spiritual and professional crisis. That experience woke me up to a desire to turn my life over to the Universe and to more openly explore spiritual growth. Since then, spirituality has been central to my work and life, and I have been committed to understanding workplace spirituality. I’m also deeply committed to creating community among those who share my interest.  I am one of the three co-founders of the MSR interest group, along with Lee Robbins and Jerry Biberman. In 1994 I created the Center for Spirit at Work and later became the founding director of the Tyson Center for Faith and Spirituality in the Workplace at the University of Arkansas.  I have published six books on workplace spirituality and transformation and have plans for at least three more. I do occasional consulting and speaking, but currently I am most excited about involvement in research projects at Fetzer Institute.

What do you consider your greatest professional accomplishment so far?
There are two professional accomplishments that I find very meaningful.  The first is working with a wonderful group of colleagues in creating and nurturing our MSR community.  The fact that MSR exists at all, and that it exists in the Academy of Management has been very inspirational to people within academia as well as a very large community of business leaders and change agents.  The second accomplishment was being the founding director of the Tyson Center for Faith and Spirituality in the Workplace at a public university.  This was an opportunity to create outreach programs for a wide variety of stakeholders including scholars, business leaders, students, faith leaders, and consultants.  In that role I pulled together resources such as case studies, dissertations, syllabi, podcasts, and bibliographies.  These have been moved to the MSR AOM Connect site so that we can assure they will continue to be available.

MSR explores how spirituality and religion can influence organizational dynamics and affect management outcomes. How do you see your beliefs aligned with this focus?
In the early days of MSR, most of the focus of our presentations and publications were on defining the field, and on qualitative and descriptive research. That was an important stage for a brand-new field. More recently there is an emergence quantitative research focusing on management outcomes such as job satisfaction and organizational commitment. I believe that workplace spirituality approaches and encouraging employees to live in alignment with their spiritual and/or religious beliefs can generally be very valuable.  At the same time there are two important caveats.  The first is that there can be a shadow side to the implementation of spirituality and religion in the workplace, particularly if it involves proselytizing or requiring participation in spiritual practices. The second is that we should not instrumentalize workplace spirituality as a management tool for getting more out of employees for the sake of profits and managerial bonuses.  Spirituality and religion ideally should lead us to greater morality, compassion, and transcendent inspiration for the sake of the greater good. 

What do you see as the most important task of the Management, Spirituality and Religion interest group? How could we best accomplish this task?
The most important task of MSR is to continue building community among scholars and practitioners who have a calling to work in this field.  I believe we are on the evolutionary edge of management scholarship, and it can be lonely when you think you are the only crazy one who sees the value of integrating spirituality and religion into our research and our organizational practices.  As soon as we learn that there are other crazy people like us out there, it gives us courage to continue to respond to that calling.  MSR is already doing a lot to strengthen our community.  During the AOM meetings, there are opportunities to meditate together, to be involved in experiential PDWs, and to attend community building events like the MSR dinner, the MSR social and the MSR business meeting.  The MSR retreat is one of the most powerful ways we build community because we come together for three days to share spiritual practices with each other and to explore how deepening our own faith or spirituality can support our research, teaching and practice.  This year there will be more virtual web-based gatherings that will help to strengthen our community and support the quality and impact of our research and teaching.   

What is your message to management scholars and practitioners, especially to those just starting their career?
If you have a calling to work in the MSR domain, it is important to trust that responding to this calling is a more spiritual path than responding to the traditional academic guidance of doing those things that will get you a “good” academic job.  In the short run it might feel impractical to do research in this area and that you might be jeopardizing your chances of being hired at a decent university or a good corporation.  That’s what a lot of supposedly wiser people will tell you. But MSR has helped to legitimize this field, and there are a growing number of scholars and practitioners who have been able to follow this calling. They are making an impact and you can too.  MSR has a mentoring program that can help people who are early in their careers.  Get involved. Join an MSR committee and meet some of the people who have successfully made a career in the MSR domain.  Run for office and be a part of the MSR Executive Committee – a group that is deeply committed to supporting emerging scholars and practitioners.  Most of all, stay committed to your own spiritual/religious practices and trust the guidance your receive from whatever it is that is transcendent for you.  Following your inner path does not guarantee constant success, but it does guarantee a meaningful and rich life that makes a difference to others.


MSR Scholarly and PDW Calls for AOM 2019

The MSR Interest Group would like to share with you the calls for PDW's and Scholarly Submissions to the MSR program at the 2019 AOM. We hope you are carving out some time in your schedule between now and the January 15, 2019 (5pm) deadline to submit something!

At this time, please also consider signing up as a reviewer for the MSR Scholarly program. This involves reviewing 1 to 3 papers (between 25 January to 14 February). If interested, please sign up at: Academy of Management 2019 Annual Meeting Review Website  (it only takes 5 minutes)!

Please also let us know if you are willing to serve as an ASSOCIATE REVIEWER:

  • An Associate Editor (AE), also referred to as a "super reviewer", helps the MSR Scholarly Program Chair by assessing reviews, submitting reviews of their own, and providing their own accept / reject recommendations.
  • Associate Editors are given special access in the Review system so, for submissions that are assigned to them, they can access and evaluate the reviews submitted by other reviewers.
  • Please respond to this email or send an email to
  • Stacie will assign AE's in mid January, after we have a sense of how many are required. 

Benefits of Reviewing for the Annual Meeting

  • Reviewers gain visibility for themselves and their institutions.
  • Reviewing gives you an opportunity to be pro-active in the Academy's program planning process.
  • It is a way to give back to your professional community.
  • It is a way to learn about what constitutes excellent and interesting work.

Thanks in advance for your collaboration in co-creating our 2019 program!
Stacie Chappell & Chris Laszlo
Scholarly Chair & PDW Chair, 2019


Call for papers, "Spirituality, Development, Transformation"

In 2016, a thematic research group of the French academic Association of Human Resource Management (AGRH) was established to promote research in the field of Management and Spirituality. Friday, June 28th and Saturday, June 29th, 2019 the Paul-Valéry - Montpellier 3 University, with the support of the AGRH, is organizing a two-day research conference on the theme "Spirituality, Development, Transformation".

The Montpellier conference invites researchers and professionals to work comprehensively as well as critically on the question of personal and organizational development and transformation in management situations. 

Deadline for submission of intentions: December 1st 2018
Deadline for submission of communications: January 14th, 2019
Notification to Authors: February 28th 2019
Sending of articles with requested corrections: April 8th 2019
Registration for the conference from April 10th 2019 to June 20th 2019
Research conference in Montpellier: 28th and 29th of June 2019

We will be needing Anglophone reviewers mid-January and will look forward to being in touch with you in the coming months.

Read more about this conference here.

MSR Community Accomplishments

Satinder Dhiman, Gary Roberts and Joanna Elizabeth Grossman recently published their major reference work, "The Palgrave Handbook of Workplace Spirituality and Fulfillment" (Palgrave, September 2018)

Weaving various strands of management, spirituality, religion, and positive psychology in a systematic manner, this Handbook provides an in-depth and critical appraisal of a wide array of topics such as: spiritual, social, and emotional intelligence; mindfulness, meaning and purpose and fulfillment at work.


Judi Neal published a major reference work titled, "Handbook of Personal and Organizational Transformation" (Springer, June, 2018). 

The aim of this book is to expand the reader’s thinking and to encourage readers to be courageous about their involvement in creating transformation, at whatever level they feel called to do so.  



Payal Kumar and Anirudh Agrawal published "Social Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Business Models: The Case of India" (Palgrave-Macmillan, May 2018).

Addressing the need for further theorization and operationalization of social entrepreneurship in India, this edited collection provides a critical and deeper understanding of the social entrepreneurial ecosystem. Covering topics such as entrepreneurial intentions, empathy, impact investment and standardized social measures, the contributors explore the potential of social entrepreneurship and sustainable business models in an Indian context. 

Additionally, Dr. Kumar co-authored the following two papers on workplace mentorism:

  • Kumar, P & Tyagi, M (2018) An exploratory study on protégé perception of faculty mentoring in India, July 2018, Indian Journal of Industrial Relations 
  • Kumar, P (2018) (In publication). Exploring incongruence in mentoring dyads in Indian firms: The protégé perspective, South Asian Journal of Human Resources Management, SAGE, 5(2) 1–17 


Joan Marques published an article titled, "The Changed Paradigm of Business Progress: A Moral Step Forward for Humanity" in On the Horizon, an Emerald Journal (October, 2018).

Focusing on optimal stakeholder inclusion, the article presents a set of interrelated leadership skills and characteristics, including a discussion about their applicability and ways to develop them.

She also published a paper titled, "Creativity and Morality in Business Education: Toward a Trans-disciplinary Approach" in the International Journal of Management Education (Vol. 17, Iss. 1). 

This paper focuses on four major areas of (moral) concern, followed by a suggestion of eight trans-disciplinary approaches that prepare future business performers for upcoming moral challenges, and shape their minds toward constructive and community-advancing, rather than self-centered, problem solving.

Focusing on a broader audience, she also published more popular MSR related works such as "
Higher Ed as a Pathway to More Conscious Living", "Lead with Conscience to Develop Strong Relationships in the Workplace", and "Social Edupreneurs in the Classroom can Produce Powerful Results".

Tom Culham has delivered multiple scholarly works this year:
Yang, F., Lin. J., Culham, T. (2018), "From Intimidation to Love: Taoist Philosophy and Love-Based Environmental Education", accepted for publication in Educational Philosophy and Theory, Taylor & Francis

Tom Culham, Rebecca Oxford and Jing Lin also published a chapter titled, "Cultivating the abilities of the heart: Educating through a pedagogy of love" in the International Handbook of Holistic Education, edited by J. Miller, K. Nigh, M. Binder, B. Novak & S. Crowell (Eds.) . New York. Rutledge. 

Considering the general reading audience, Tom also published several popular works such as "
Is it Good for You to be Good?" and "The Many Benefits of Meditation in the Classroom"



Please feel free to share this news blast with associates, friends, and others who may have an interest in MSR. Consider becoming a member of the MSR Interest Group of the Academy of Management if not done so yet. Also, feel free to share your accomplishments, publications, and other noteworthy activities with the editors for possible inclusion in an upcoming issue.
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