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AE Spiritual Knowledge Management

In our research we particularly focus on the following topics:

1. Spiritual Knowledge Management

Spiritual Knowledge Management – what is this?

Just think about it. What would our world look like if every person would live as the best version of him- or herself and every organization would run as the best version of itself? And what would our world look like if this best version is by no means a purely egocentric version, but a wise version that focuses on the full development of individuals and organizations in the

That sounds quite promising, doesn't it? In a nutshell, it is exactly that: becoming who you should and can be - as a person and as an organization. But what does this best version look like and how can it be achieved? To answer this question, we need to go through a deep learning process, be it as individuals or as an organization. In this deep learning process, in a literal sense, we will create knowledge, essential and deep knowledge about the features and characteristics of the best version. It is just this kind of knowledge-creating process that will enable us to learn about our best version as a person or as an organization and to achieve it step by step. It is a process of becoming in the literal sense.

Spiritual knowledge management is all about organizing, enabling, supporting and structuring this deep learning process to achieve the best version of both ourselves and our organizations.


  • Here you can find the recorded presentations and discussions from already three virtual mini-symposia that we have organized on the topic of Spiritual KM: https://www.wu.ac.at/kbm/news/

  • Here you can find some papers we have published around the topic of Spiritual KM: https://research.wu.ac.at/de/projects/spiritual-knowledge-management/publications/.

  • The home base of our research is currently still the Department of Knowledge Management at the Vienna University of Economics and Business (https://wu.ac.at/kbm) However, this summer we founded the Research Institute for Spiritual KM - located in an old vineyard house built in 1575 in the middle of the Wachau vineyards (here are some pictures https://photos.app.goo.gl/7Yxv4QJeVBD6HDcA7). We believe that research on such a special topic as Spiritual Knowledge Management requires a very special place, a place where we can also learn and benefit from the wisdom and beauty of nature.  One of our main research topics is how we can facilitate such deep learning processes that are key to Spiritual KM for both individuals and organizations. We are quite sure that such facilitation is strongly related to very specific forms of coaching and counselling. That is why we work in particular with methods such as vocation-coaching and learning from the future.

Closely related topics such as Purposing, Vocationing, the Aesthetics of Organizational Purpose, Calling, Becoming, Change or Learning from the Future and Self-transcending Knowledge show that this is a strongly interdisciplinary field. We attempt to approach this topics from a very holistic knowledge-based management perspective that we think, provides interesting new insights of the mentioned topics. Recent research by Ikujiro Nonaka on "The Wise Company" or "Phronetic Leadership", or by Constantin Bratianu on "Spiritual Knowledge" takes a similar path and indicates that our approach aims in the right direction.

Some of our first publications on this topics include the following:

Kaiser, A. and Peschl, M.F., The role of self-transcending knowledge in Senge’s understanding of learning organizations Towards an interdisciplinary taxonomy of self-transcending knowledge

Grisold,T. and Kaiser,A., Leaving behind what we are not. Applying a systems thinking perspective to present unlearning as an enabler for finding the best version of the self

Fahrenbach,F. and Kragulj,F., The Ever-Changing Personality: Revisiting the Concept of Triple-Loop Learning

Kragulj,F. et al., Revealing the Purpose of a Stakeholder Organisation: The Case of a Public University Responding to the COVID-19 ‘Corona’ Crisis


2. Vision Development

  • Knowledge-based Vision Development on the individual level

  • The development of Shared Visions in organizations as organizational learning process

To this end we have developed two methods BerufungscoachingWaVe and Vikobama that we have used and tested over many years in a number of projects. To ensure the continuous development of these methods we engage in a dialogue between practice (data, evaluations) and academia in the sense of the action research paradigm. The regular cooperation with our practice partner WaVe – Zentrum für Wachstum und Veränderung (Center for Growth and Change) allows us to integrate valuable data from numerous vision development processes into our scientific research.

Listed below are some selected publications that fit in this thematic scope:

Kaiser, A., Fahrenbach,F. and Martinez,H., Creating Shared Visions in Organizations – Taking an Organizational Learning and Knowledge Management Perspective

Kragulj, F., Kaiser, A., and Grisold, T., Identifying Knowledge Enablers in Organizational Visions: A Synthesis of Theory and Practice

Kaiser,A., Towards a Knowledge-Based Theory of Developing Sustainable Visions: The Theory Wave

A full list of publications can be found  here.


3. Purpose Measurement

Behind this term, which may seem a bit odd at first glance, lies the idea to look at the topic of Purpose from a somewhat more formal perspective. In short, it is about developing a measuring instrument that provides information about how well an individual or an organization follows its "real" purpose in the sense of a decision support or monitoring system. In other words, the measurement to be developed should provide information about how close a person or an organization is to the "best version of himself/herself" or "itself". Without doubt, this research project is a challenging undertaking for many reasons. Especially due to the fact that the "best version" is continuously and dynamically developing and is in this sense something "fluid". Therefore, many aspects of the aforementioned research areas will also be of relevance here. As for the individual level of analysis of this research area, the accompanying work with BerufungscoachingWaVe (vocational coaching) again provides a valuable source of research data for us. We are certainly far from a concise solution here at the moment, but a lot of desire, joy and excitement went into the work on this topic recently.

However our efforts already culminated in a first publication on the topic:

Baumgartner,L. and Kaiser,A., The measurement of meaningfulness


4. Need knowledge a strategic tool

In this area of research, we explore a very specific type of knowledge that we call need knowledge. It is about the organizational knowledge about their essential needs as an organization. The high potential of need knowledge has already been shown in numerous projects, experiments and scientific works. A major notable advantage is that recognizing essential needs and generating explicit knowledge about them enables sustainable and innovative solutions.

This means that changes and developments in social systems (organizations, companies, industries, areas of communities/cities, etc.) work particularly well and sustainably, if the needs of the system have been made explicit beforehand because only then can measures and their implementations be tailored to the needs of the organization. A big advantage also lies in the drastic enlargement of the space of possibilities regarding measures and/or actions, since there are usually many different ways of conversion that allow the satisfaction of a single need.

With our method Bewextra, we have been able to support many different organizations in numerous projects by externalizing the organizational need knowledge. This regularly led to a completely new foundation for sustainable decisions and change processes.

Our current research in this area mainly focuses on the ongoing development and optimization of the Bewextra method towards a complete decision support system for large and very large organizations.

We have already published a variety of articles in this area as. Three should be highlighted here:

Kragulj,F., A Knowledge Perspective on Needs to Enhance Organizational Learning

Kaiser,A., Kragulj,F. and Grisold,T., Taking a Knowledge Perspective on Needs: Presenting Two Case Studies within an Educational Environment in Austria

Kaiser,A., et.al., Towards a prioritization of needs to support decision making in organizational change processes

An overview of all our publications can be found here.