Leadership Views on Corporate Chaplains: Business, Socio-Cultural, and Spiritual Justifications
David W. Miller & Faith Wambura Ngunjiri - January 2013
The arena of spirituality in the workplace continues to garner growing scholarly and popular attention as evidenced by increased interdisciplinary scholarship, media reports, and corporate interest. However, workplace chaplaincy, an expression and a growing subset of the faith at work movement, has received very little scholarly attention. This paper fills that gap by explicating the business reasoning, socio-cultural explanations and spiritual imperatives behind organizational leaders' decisions to incorporate workplace chaplains into their employee benefit programs. Unlike hospital or military chaplains, workplace chaplains work in corporate settings, including offices, factory floors, and manufacturing plants, helping to provide holistic employee care. Through interviews with senior organizational leaders, this study found that chaplains care for employees' needs, thus contributing to organizational commitment, employee wellbeing, reduced operational costs, reduced turnover/increased retention, and an overall positive, welcoming organizational culture. The paper ends with implications for future studies to unpack the potential risks and challenges associated with corporate chaplaincy, discover perceptions of employees and other constituents, and provide measures and metrics for evaluating chaplaincy programs.