Futurist and international consultant James A. Crupi, PhD, president of Strategic Leadership Solutions Inc., a Dallas company that specializes in leadership training and business strategies, agrees. Increasing numbers of seminars devoted to spirituality in the workplace, the search for nontraditional ways to inspire people to embrace ethics, and newly recognized links between productivity and individual self-knowledge all are evidence of this search for integration between meaning and work, he says. "Employees and management are coming to the realization that when one's vocation and avocation become one," he says, "people are hitting on all cylinders."

This quest for meaning has spawned four trends that will affect business in the foreseeable future, Crupi says: desire for simplicity, rejection of complexity, quest for purity (spirituality), and being close to nature. A host of factors fuel these trends. Baby boomers have reached the point in life where they embrace issues of purpose and meaning, and this age group comprises the lion's share of managers and CEOs. More and more women own businesses, and women typically possess management styles that reward process and self-development. Then there's Generation Y, which Crupi describes as extremely spiritually driven.

National and international events accelerated the evolution toward deeper meaning at work. "The go-go economic years of the '90s and the stock market's collapse showed people that money was easy come/easy go, and that it was not the driver to happiness that people supposed it would be," Crupi says. "People realized there is more to life than money. And when people come to that realization, they turn inside."