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The Relevance of Spiritual Transcendence in a Consumer Economy: The Dollars and Sense of It

posted Dec 27, 2013, 3:27 PM by Naomi Naghi   [ updated Feb 16, 2014, 11:49 PM ]

Ralph L. Piedmont1, Teresa A. Wilkins & John Hollowitz

Journal of Social Research & Policy
Volume: 4, Issue: 2
, pp. 59-77
Date: December 2013
ISSN: 2067-2640 (print), 2068-9861 (electronic)

Abstract: The concept of spirituality seems to contrast sharply with any discussion of our market economy: transcendent attachments versus materialistic consumption. Yet, we will argue that the two are very closely intertwined. As a basic, motivational dimension of personality, spirituality finds expression in every human endeavor, even the most concrete, material, here-and-now behaviors that characterize the business world. This report will address four issues: a) a presentation of the ASPIRES model of spirituality and religiousness; b) a brief overview of the empirical support for this construct as a robust, universal motivational aspect of human behavior; c) the relationship between spirituality and financial qualities, such as materialism, perceptions of the economic climate, spending patterns, and attitudes towards financial sustainability; and d) overview the three levels of influence spirituality has in the economic world: as a quality of the consumer that products can be marketed towards,  as a motivational quality of corporate workers, and as a factor underlying corporate identity and ethics.


Keywords: ASPIRES; Spirituality; Religiousness; Consumerism; Economic Attitudes.

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