Appreciation: A spiritual path to finding value and meaning in the workplace

N. S. Fagley, Mitchel G. Adler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Appreciation is keenly connected to spirituality through a process of reciprocal causality, and both appear to be key factors in psychological and physical well-being and successful performance in the workplace, with each making a distinct contribution. Appreciation fosters well-being and success directly, as well as indirectly, through forging and maintaining social bonds, promoting better sleep, encouraging helping and building trust. Appreciation is viewed as having eight aspects: a focus on what one has ("Have focus"), awe, ritual, present moment, self/social comparison, gratitude, loss/adversity and interpersonal appreciation. Although interventions to increase several aspects of appreciation have been successful, they have not been intended for, or implemented formally in the workplace. This paper briefly reviews research on appreciation, suggests possible applications to the workplace, argues that appreciation is an important factor in workplace well-being and success, and urges researchers to pursue this line of investigation. We also argue that although spirituality and appreciation have many points of commonality and are likely involved in a process of reciprocal causality, it is most productive for research endeavors at this point to view them as distinct constructs. Research is needed to determine the most effective ways to express appreciation in the workplace and the most effective organizational and individual workplace interventions to foster appreciation and manifest spirituality. Appreciation may help employees feel valued, unleashing their intrinsic motivation and desire to excel and to help others, including customers, supervisors or peers. This would be good for them and for their employer. At the systems level, what organizational structures, procedures and practices promote spirituality and appreciation, which then foster important organizational outcomes? And finally, research is needed to assess the joint and unique effects of appreciation and spirituality on business outcomes, at the individual employee level and at the levels of the work team, unit and overall company.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-187
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Management, Spirituality and Religion
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Religious studies
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


  • appreciation
  • awe
  • gratitude
  • present moment
  • spirituality
  • thankful
  • workplace


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