The relevance of spiritual transcendence in a consumer economy: The dollars and sense of it

Ralph L. Piedmont, Teresa A. Wilkins, John Hollowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-77
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Social Research and Policy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Consumerism
  • Economic attitudes
  • Religiousness
  • Spirituality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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