Balancing Religion at Work
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Balancing Religion at Work
Religion at work is more complex than one imagines, because religion is a dynamic, multi-layered and deeply personal experience and dealing with any conflicts connected with two colleagues religion can potentially threaten an organizations harmony.
“Technology, global competition, downsizing, and reengineering have created a workforce of employees seeking value, support, and meaning in their lives that finds expression not only at home but also on the job. Greater spiritual and religious accommodation has become a source for achieving that meaning and support” Cash and Gray 2000(1) point out.That is why I appreciate the importance of the display of ones faith in our workplace and understand where my group member is coming from with her request, even though religion in the workplace might have been condemned as a negative influence by Mitroff and Denton in 1999(2) .
What I take heart from, before deciding how to respond to the colleague, is Laturkars 2010(3) observations,”Recent research on psychological flexibility related to multi-cultural management suggests that helping people to accept, but not believe, their unpleasant thoughts and feelings contributes to people becoming more caring .”
Apart from it being morally wrong to accede to her request, there is something more important from the organizations point of view. James F. Morgan 2004(4) says “the ability to attract and retain high-performing employees may also be jeopardized where management adopts a restrictive view ” when it comes to religion. Given the quality of people and the diversity within my group, I do not want to lose any of my 50 group members or accept an environment that fosters discord between them.
I would calmly and politely point out to the disgruntled employee that Christianity, at its core, teaches tolerance, peace and harmony, and would reinforce the fact that we are all part of an organization where we promote, respect and encourage diversity.I would volunteer to have a Christmas tree put in front of her desk to celebrate the Christian spirit. While encouraging her to be more accepting and tolerant of religious plurality,I would also suggest to my Wiccan colleague to confine her banners to the confines of her own cubicle as her colleagues have done.
I would also screen a short documentary on christmas and encourage all my employees to watch, thus sensitizing them to other cultures and maybe incorporate this as a routine for each festival celebrated by my employees.Cultural Intelligence is important because misunderstandings can often occur in a diverse group and, as a result, cooperation and productivity may suffer.I would stress that it is necessary to have a fine balance between the assertion of ones personal beliefs and the respect that is due to other