Importance of Religious Beliefs to Ethical Attitudes in Business

Category: Morality
Last Updated: 24 Jun 2020
Pages: 4 Views: 236

For effective functioning market system, moral and ethical aspects are always necessary; regulations by its own cannot control people behavior given the complexity of our current financial system. The destructiveness of unethical behavior was shown in many examples around the globe, one of the most recent examples is the unethical behavior contributed to the Global Financial crisis of 2008. Below I will be discussing the role of religiosity as a determinant of ethical attitudes towards business; in fact most religions indicate disapproval of unethical actions and underpin ethical behavior.

There are some researchers who failed to find a strongly positive relationship between religious beliefs and ethical attitudes,claiming that ethical attitudes can be related to commitment to moral self-improvement and not to religiosity. In contrast, there are studies that initiated the existence of that positive relationship among religion and ethical manner; for instance it has been found that business students for whom religion is “very important” have stronger ethical values when reacting to hypothetical business scenarios.

To better study the ethical attitude of business professionals, surveys were done and resulted that as a whole, business professionals who considered their religious faith to be highly important to them are significantly less accepting of ethically questionable behavior, there are some other predictors of respondents’ perception of acceptability, such as age, gender and size of the firm.

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In our previous point, research into the relationship between religion and business ethics involved a very large sample of business professionals which makes it superior to other researches - discussed in the same article-conducted by taking a small size sample and are focused on students whose experience in facing ethical issues and challenges in workplace is very limited.

But once again , even those “small size sample” surveys have similar outcomes , which states that persons for whom their religion identity is extremely important - people with intrinsic religion orientation - will tend to suffer distress if they depart from the ethical traditions of their religion and likely to hold on more strictly to ethical standards.

So both theoretical and empirical work indicates that religion is an important determinant of ethical attitude. When I first read the article, I was a bit confused regarding the role of religion as a determinant of ethical manner, as I witnessed many cases where people who have no religious beliefs act ethically and according to a highly acceptable manner. My judgment is: This relationship (between religion and UNETHICAL behavior) is not always negative.

However, the relationship between religion and ethical mind-set will always bepositive , and here is the trick! Bear in mind,that am talking with reference to true religious people and not who identifythemselves religious but have no actual faith of what religious morals and values states. Living in a Muslim society, I canrecall many practices whichhave demonstrated that positive relationship,including people commitment to “zaka” for instance.

Moreover, One of the most obvious cases which I have seen in my professional experience- As I am working as a stock trader in one of the biggest brokerage houses in Bahrain- when a religious investor, trading for his own personal brokerage account refuses to be engaged in a transaction which deals in stocks of any company involved in “liquor” business, as it is considered “Haram” forbidden in Islam. In my ownpoint of view, there will always be a relationship between religion and ethical standards.

Thatis, individuals expressing religious affiliation will eventually have stronger ethical beliefs and therefore actions. After all, I believed that being religious is like being always highly motivated and committed to act in an ethically acceptable manner, also religious individuals find it harder and embarrassing to justify unethical business behavior and will always be searching for more fair alternative. It is also useful to know that all major religions discourages unethical behavior in “business transaction” in particular, not only Islam, as most of the religions stress the same core values.

But as I previously mentioned,that doesn’t mean individual who has no religious beliefs will necessarily act unethically? No, absolutely that is not always the case. Despite the fact that some individuals who are not religious enough can be motivated by their commitment and morality,that doesn’t lead me to agree to the point addressed in the article that discusses the weakness and inconsistencyof the positive relationship between religious qualities and favorable attitude toward corporate social responsibility.

Finally, I started thinking a bit wider about the difficulties faced by a religious individual to conduct business activities in a moral and ethical manner, but at the same time operating in such a complex environment having many different influencing factors. Every day, individuals face ethical matters at work and seldom know how to deal with it ,dueto several factors influencing humans behavior. In some societies, legal interpretations are based on contemporary and transient values and standards, unlike Islamic society where values and standards are directed by shari’ah and a set of “fiqh” judgment.

Additionally,an individual works for any organization will be influenced by the extent of commitment of the organization’s leader to ethical conduct. And as people come to work with different values and from different backgrounds, different factors can shape ones ethical behavior such as personal values and moral,relativesinfluence, peer influence and persons’ life experience. Besides that, some people are behaving unethically in certain situation only because they possibly see no way out!

In conclusion, I have to say that it is essential for someone to have those religious beliefs in order to behave according to the satisfactoryethical standards. But the main concern is , How is it achievable for a religious individual to conduct business activities in a moral and ethical manner, but at the same time operating in such a complex environment having all those different influencing factors affecting individuals attitude? Scholars have to consider and study closely all several factors influencingpeoples’ manner, making it harder to follow their believed values.

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Importance of Religious Beliefs to Ethical Attitudes in Business. (2017, Mar 17). Retrieved from

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