Workplace chaplaincy, a concrete manifestation of workplace spirituality, is defined as pastoral care serving the specific needs of people in workplaces. While scientific publications have so far emphasized its beneficial implications, scrutiny of the possible instrumentalization of workplace chaplaincy by the management has been neglected. Workplace chaplaincy can signify a real integration of spirituality implying a debate on the meaning of life and work, as well as a critical analysis of organizational structures and management (critical workplace spirituality). Just as well, it can be instrumentalized as a management technique to impel employees to achieve improved organizational results (positive workplace spirituality).
This paper contributes to the management literature by elaborating decisive characteristics of a critical and positive workplace spirituality and discussing those characteristics that pertain to workplace chaplaincy. Furthermore, we provide a qualitative study on workplace chaplaincy illustrating a critical thought-provoking model facing different challenges, allegiances and logics in the secular working world. The elaborated characteristics and the qualitative study extend our understanding of workplace spirituality and chaplaincy as they provide a view beyond traditional management perspectives. Moreover, this paper contributes to the discussion what kind of spirituality and chaplaincy we are referring to in management theory and practice.