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Mindfulness Revisited: A Buddhist-Based Conceptualization


Journal of Management Inquiry

Published online on


Recent scholarship on mindfulness has narrowly focused on attention enhancement, present-moment awareness, and its stress reduction effects. Moreover, current operational definitions of mindfulness in the literature differ considerably from those derived from classic Buddhist canonical sources. This article revisits the meaning, function, and purpose of Buddhist mindfulness by proposing a triadic model of "right mindfulness." A Buddhist-based conceptualization of right mindfulness provides both a theoretical and ethical corrective to the decontextualized individual-level construct of mindfulness that has informed the organizational theory and practitioner literature. We argue that a denatured mindfulness divorced from its soteriological context reduces it to a self-help technique that is easily misappropriated for reproducing corporate and institutional power, employee pacification, and maintenance of toxic organizational cultures.