Corporate Culture as Spiritual Formation

Last weekend at my church, we heard Paul Ely, a 78-year-old former Vice-President at Hewlett-Packard share the events that led to his decision to follow Jesus in January of this year. You can hear him here. What struck me was this line: "HP's unique culture improved my character and made me a better person, like it did for many." Now, I know Paul, and I know this wasn't a veiled advertisement. Paul really believes that the corporate culture he lived within for decades had a positive shaping effect on his moral person - and I suspect that he is exactly right. Of course, this raises the question I want to pose to you:  

What shaping effect does your work environment have on your character?

 How does it encourage you to treat people? What does it teach you to value above all else? What means does it endorse as preferable and allowable in order to seek this value? Is this cartoon funny because it's too similar to your workplace?

These are important questions for those of us subject to a corporate culture, whether we work at a technology firm, a mega-church, a grocery store or an elementary school. We need to be aware of how our workplace is shaping us - for good and for ill. And for those of us that have the sacred responsibility of developing and reforming our workplace cultures, these questions are even more important, because we must consider what kind of people we are shaping our employees into being. The fact is, all bosses are accountable to God for this, and there is little God cares about more than how people's inner cores are being formed. Bosses hold in their charge, the moral formation of their employees, even as Pastors do their congregations. Corporate culture is spiritual formation, or deformation, as the case may be. How's does your workplace shape the inner lives, values and moral character of those who share with you in this work ?

1 comment:

  1. Sadly, places like HP under H and P seem to be fewer and farther between these days...

    Happily, some of the trends that made such cultures scarce seem to be reversing because of the current economic crisis