Disentangling Religiosity: The Impact of Religious Motivators on Business Ethics (A Mixed-Methods Study)

126 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2020

See all articles by Yoshija Walter

Yoshija Walter

University of Bern, Institute for Organization and Personnel IOP; University of Bern - Faculty of Theology; University of Fribourg, Laboratory for Cognitive Neuroscience

Date Written: December 18, 2019


Empirical studies confirm that there is a positive effect from a believer’s religiosity to business ethics; this effect is presently called the spillover effect. The problem with those studies is that ‘religiosity’ is poorly operationalized as a monolithic construct, which does not result in substantial meaningful findings. The present paper uses a more sophisticated approach through conceptualizing religiosity as a multidimensional construct consisting of five dimensions: intellect, ideology, experience, private practice, and public practice. The goal is to find ‘religious motivators’ (or ‘religious motivating factors’) that constitute the spillover effect, so to discover factors of individual religiosity that explain the relationships.

There were two empirical studies with different methodologies applied: a quantitative study performed on two large data sets and a qualitative study with expert interviews. It was found that the spillover effect is a complex phenomenon with intertwined relationships, consisting of many indirect and mediating effects. The analysis showed that the influence of religiosity on business ethics can be profound but is mostly present as an indirect and not a direct effect. It is dependent on the level of integration of one’s faith into a subject’s personality and the effect can be positive as well as negative, depending on the contextualization of the religious motivator. However, the relationship is usually positive. This means that higher levels of religiosity positively correlate with the strife to behave ethically at the workplace.

The main result is a conceptual model where 30 religious motivators are displayed, each consisting of a set of subcategories. The motivating factors are clustered to seven meta-categories, which are: religious cosmos, relationship with God, duties & rights, lifestyle & devotions, rationality & reality, social environment, and destination. Some important motivators are: view of God (God image), responsibility (being caretakers), guidelines, attitudes towards life, prayer life, basis of values, community, God’s plan, and soteriology. Nevertheless, there is still much potential for future research.

Keywords: religiosity, business ethics, business economics, management, empirical study, qualitative, quantitative, mixed-methods, religion, Centrality of Religiosity Scale, CRS-15, motivation factors, spillover effect, religious behaviour, religious cognition, religious thought, interdisciplinary

JEL Classification: M1, M10, M12, M16, M19, Z12, Z13

Suggested Citation

Walter, Yoshija, Disentangling Religiosity: The Impact of Religious Motivators on Business Ethics (A Mixed-Methods Study) (December 18, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3505995 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3505995

Yoshija Walter (Contact Author)

University of Bern, Institute for Organization and Personnel IOP

Engehaldenstrasse 4
Bern, Bern 3007

University of Bern - Faculty of Theology ( email )


University of Fribourg, Laboratory for Cognitive Neuroscience

Bd de Pérolles 90
Fribourg, 1700

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