European SPES Institute

The European SPES Forum was established in by Luk Bouckaert and Laszlo Zsolnai 2004 In Leuven, Belgium. It was transformed into the European SPES Institute in 2014.

The aim of the European SPES Institute is to make spirituality accessible as a public good to as many people as possible. Or, to phrase it differently: to open up spirituality as a vital source in social and economic life. This aim is expressed in the key word of SPES, being on the one hand an acronym for ‘SPirituality in Economic and Social life’ and, on the other hand, the Latin word for Hope, the virtue that sustains our belief in a better future. Spirituality is deliberately defined in broad and pluralistic terms so that the European SPES Institute brings together people from different spiritual backgrounds and traditions: Christians, Buddhists, spiritual freethinkers, Jews, Muslims. Our working definition is: Spirituality is the multiform search for a transcendent or deep meaning of life that connects people to each other and brings them in touch with God or ‘Ultimate Reality’. Within this definition there is room for differing views, for spiritualities with and without God and for an ethics of dialogue or ‘active pluralism’.

The Palgrave Handbook of Spirituality and Business

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Luk Bouckaert & Laszlo Zsolnai (eds.) The Palgrave Handbook of Spirituality and Business. Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. (This book may be available at: Amazon)

The handbook summarizes the most important issues, approaches and models in the field of spirituality in business, economics and society. It presents a comprehensive pluralistic view covering all the major religious and spiritual traditions. It is a response to three developments that challenge the business-as-usual mindset.

Firstly, in response to a growing interest in spirituality applied to models of transformational leadership, in theories of social capital and in practices of values-driven management, it explores the emerging field of business spirituality—its main concepts, models and practices.

Spirituality and Ethics in Management

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Laszlo Zsolnai (ed.) Spirituality and Ethics in Management. Springer, 2011. (This book may be available at: Springer)

The book is a collection of scholarly papers focusing on the role of spirituality and ethics in renewing the contemporary management praxis. The basic argument is that a more inclusive, holistic and peaceful approach to management is needed if business and political leaders are to uplift the environmentally degrading and socially disintegrating world of our age. The book uses diverse value-perspectives (Hindu, Catholic, Buddhist, and Humanist) and a variety of disciplines (philosophy, ethics, management studies, psychology, and organizational sciences) to extend traditional reflections on corporate purpose and focuses on a self-referential organizational-existential search for meaning, identity and success.  Contributions include papers by European SPES Forum founding members Luk Bouckaert, Laszlo Zsolnai, Josep Lozano, Mike Thompson, and Peter Pruzan.

Business, Spirituality & the Common Good

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Mike Thompson (ed.) Business, Spirituality & the Common Good. Russel Media, Boise, Idaho, 2011. (This book may be available at: Amazon)

Business, Spirituality and the Common Good provides a robust and thorough look at the nature of business and spirituality and how they can reinforce each other for human flourishing and the common good of all. the book does not offer a one size fits all answer to complex questions, rather it provokes the reader to think deeply on these important issues. Contributors include Luk Bouckaert, Helen Alford, Mike J. Thompson, Sanjoy Mukharjee, Francois Lépineux, and Judy Neal.

Spiritual Humanism and Economic Wisdom

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Hendrik Opdebeeck & Laszlo Zsolnai (eds.) Spiritual Humanism and Economic Wisdom. Garant, Antwerpen and Apeldoom, 2011. (This book may be available at: Garant)

The book contains essays in honor of the 70th anniversary of K.U.Leuven professor Luk Bouckaert, co-founder of the European SPES forum, which aims to make spirituality accessible as a public good to as many people as possible. In the spirit of the European SPES forum, this volume covers issues of contemporary economics using a humanist perspective and discusses interrelated problems of business, ethics and society from spiritually based viewpoints. The authors argue for practicing economic wisdom in economic and social life. Spiritual Humanism and Economic Wisdom.pdf

Social Responsibility, Entrepreneurship and the Common Good – International and Interdisciplinary Perspectives

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Carole Bonanni, Francois Lépineux & Julia Roloff (eds.) Social Responsibility, Entrepreneurship and the Common Good – International and Interdisciplinary Perspectives. Palgrave-Macmillan, London, 2012. (This book may be available at: Palgrave)

What motivated us to put together this collection of essays on social responsibility, entrepreneurship and the common good? Why is it important to confront these three themes? Because we feel, along with many others, that the time for reinventing business has come; and this implies thinking differently, jumping across the comfortable barriers of management sub-disciplines, seeking the intersections between areas that usually do not communicate. The ongoing evolution of international events seems to confirm this feeling.

Respect and Economic Democracy

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Luk Bouckaert & Pasquale Arena (eds.) Respect and Economic Democracy. Garant, Antwerp/Appeldom, 2010. (This book may be available at: European SPES Forum)

Respect and Economic Democracy is based on the hypothesis that democracy will become a growing ingredient of good business and leadership. Many contributions of this sixth European SPES Cahier disclosing new practices of democratic entrepreneurship confirm this hypothesis. The authors assume that economic democracy implies a commitment rooted in respect and explore the spiritual, ethical and economic meaning of respect.

Heroes and Anti-heroes. European Literature and the Ethics of Leadership.

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Rita Ghesquiere & Knut Ims (eds.) Heroes and Anti-heroes. European Literature and the Ethics of Leadership.. Garant, Antwerp & Apeldoom, 2010. (This book may be available at: European SPES Forum)

The authors share the idea that narratives offer their readers an alternative fictional world. In doing this they hold up a mirror that confronts the reader with otherness that questions his self-evident norms and values but also his daily practices. Both heroes and antiheroes contribute to this process of reflection. The confrontation with literary texts stimulates the intellectual, the emotional and the social consciousness. The firm belief that divergent (cultural) systems i.e. business ethics and literature can enrich each other is at the core of this project.

Business, Globalization and the Common Good

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Henri-Claude de Bettignies and François Lépineux (ed.) Business, Globalization and the Common Good. Peter Lang, Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Brussels, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2009. (This book may be available at: Amazon)

Globalization and information technology are driving the world into a new era. Is it the responsibility of business to pursue the common good - and more precisely, to participate in the construction of the global common good? This book brings together contributions from various disciplines, written by scholars who are at the forefront of this debate. It provides multiple insights into a tripartite relationship: business, globalization and the common good. It helps explain why the business sphere will probably not be in a position to ignore the common good much longer, and why this latter concept, widely ignored in today's management realm, is likely to become part of tomorrow's corporate policies and practices in the global context. Finally, this work opens up a plethora of avenues for future research, calling for the development of transdisciplinary approaches and for the elaboration of a research program embracing theoretical, empirical and spiritual perspectives to tackle this complex issue.

Leadership, Spirituality and the Common Good. East and West Approaches

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Henri-Claude de Bettignies & Mike Thompson (eds.) Leadership, Spirituality and the Common Good. East and West Approaches. Garant, Antwerpen/Apeldoorn, 2009. (This book may be available at: European SPES Forum)

The authors of the book believe that the European and Asian traditions of spirituality provide rich resources for world seeking to rediscover the Common Good. The particular focus of this Cahier is on the need for responsible leaders who understand and accept their responsibility to steward the resources in their care for the good of their organisation and for the Common Good. Such leaders will have developed the capacity to integrate the economic, the social and the environmental realms and inspire trust in their organisational communities through the quality of their character and spirit.

Imagine Europe. The Search for European Identity and Spirituality

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Luk Bouckaert & Johanan Eynikel (eds.) Imagine Europe. The Search for European Identity and Spirituality. Garant, Antwerpen/Apeldoorn, 2009. (This book may be available at: European SPES Forum)

Authors of the book share the idea of Europe as a space of unity-in-diversity based on relations of reciprocity and fraternity. They see it as Europe’s mission to enlarge its post-war idea of peace and integration into a global action. Even though the European Union started in the sphere of economics, it was from the beginning more than economics. Therefore this cahier calls for a stronger sense of spiritual commitment and moral imagination in Europe. It refers to a new generation of business leaders inspired by the paradigm of spirit-centered entrepreneurship.