Such ideas have been steadily gaining ground. The English-born poet, David Whyte, who teaches on the AstraZeneca programme, has been working with companies in the field of organisational development for more than a decade.
Whyte has an impressive client list that also includes advertising group WPP, aircraft manufacturer Boeing and the oil company Shell. His presentations are sprinkled with the poetry of Dante, Coleridge, Eliot and Blake as well as his own. "It is impossible to build a creative, vital, adaptable workforce unless every member of that team is asking germane questions about their own lives," he says.
According to Sue Cheshire, managing director, Academy for Chief Executives, a mentoring network for senior managers, increasing chaos in the world is driving the need for a more spiritual understanding of work.
"Spirituality in the workplace starts with business leaders creating order within themselves," she says. "This will have an impact on those around them, helping to foster a greater acceptance of values and responsibility as the natural qualifications for true leadership."
Some commentators argue there is a scientific basis for a link between spirituality and business performance. Along with IQ and EQ (emotional intelligence), SQ, or spiritual quotient, has been identified as a third key area of human intelligence.
Among those championing the concept is the American business writer, Danah Zohar, author of SQ — Spiritual Intelligence, and Rewiring the Corporate Brain. SQ, she asserts, is the ultimate human intelligence and a necessary foundation for both IQ and EQ. "IQ is our rational, logical, linear intelligence," she says. "It is the intelligence with which we solve problems and with which we manipulate and control our environment. SQ, our need for and access to deep meaning, purpose and values, is our transformative intelligence. SQ makes us ask fundamental questions, it rocks the boat and moves the boundaries."
Anti-capitalist protestors are unlikely to be reassured by the thought that companies are bringing the spiritual world into work. Yet this may be just what is required to mitigate the worst excesses of market economies.