My research on eco-spiritualities & work

Max Weber highlighted the powerful role that religious belief played in the development of economic activity in specific communities and locales. At the conclusion of the Protestant Ethic & the Spirit of Capitalism Weber warned that the ‘protestant work ethic’ would eventually be compromised by the eventual impact of utilising non-renewable resources on the environment. Various researchers have charted the emergence of new forms of work ethic and ‘spirits of capitalism’ since. Recently, Bell et al discussed evidence that emergence of ‘spiritual work ethic’ which annexed new age ‘inner-self’ spirituality, but ‘is closely tied to understandings of the relationship between organizations and nature…. [and] is related to concerns about the sustainability of global capitalism in the twenty-first century’. This ethic has emerged during the rapid growth in the sustainability discourse in management studies which has attempted to articulate a work ethic which marries a capitalist ethos which an ‘eco-friendly’ work ethic.

Most of this discourse does not have an empirical basis. My research aims to address this by interviewing individuals who identify as ‘eco-spiritual’ whilst simultaneously participating through work, enterprise and entrepreneurship in late capitalist society. This research hopes to contribute empirical evidence to the ‘spiritual work ethic’ model proposed by Bell et al., by collecting empirical data on the work choices and experiences of individuals who expressly identify as ‘eco-spiritual’.

I am currently recruiting volunteers for a research project on the work ethic of people who identify themselves as having a nature-based faith system, earth-based spirituality or eco-spirituality.

This can include a range of followers of different religions or faiths (Pagans, Neo-Pagans, Wiccans, Druids, etc.), but recognises that many people who revere nature do not necessarily identify as belonging to one, or any, faith).

I also would love to hear from people who belong to other religions (including mainstream ones such as Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, etc) who believe that nature is sacred.

The research will involve interviews (telephone or ‘live’ depending on your preference)of not more than one-hour duration, which I will record for analysis. Confidentiality and anonymity is assured throughout. The research project has been reviewed and approved by NUI Maynooth’s Social Sciences Research Ethics Committee who take such issues very seriously!

Participants will be asked the following questions.

1. Please describe the work that you currently do.

2. When (and how) did you become interested in this work?

3. Please describe your religious/spiritual faith/beliefs.

4. When (and how) did you become interested in this/these religious/spiritual faith/beliefs?

5. If you believe that there is a connection between your beliefs and the work that you do, can you describe this relationship?

I am not currently in a position to pay participants for interview at this stage, but I will keep all interested in the outcomes of the project up-to-date with its outputs and analysis.

If you are interested in knowing more about the project, know anybody who think might be interested or have any questions about what participation involves, please do not hesitate to contact me at

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