Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 80, Issue 2, pp 387–398

Ethics and Religion: An Empirical Test of a Multidimensional Model


    • Department of ManagementUniversity of Wisconsin - Whitewater
  • Martin Hoegl
    • Department of ManagementUniversity of Wisconsin - Whitewater
  • John B. Cullen
    • Department of ManagementUniversity of Wisconsin - Whitewater

DOI: 10.1007/s10551-007-9439-8

Cite this article as:
Parboteeah, K.P., Hoegl, M. & Cullen, J.B. J Bus Ethics (2008) 80: 387. doi:10.1007/s10551-007-9439-8


Although it seems that ethics and religion should be related, past research suggests mixed conclusions on the relationship. We argue that such mixed results are mostly due to methodological and conceptual limitations. We develop hypotheses linking Cornwall et al.’s (1986, Review of Religious Research, 27(3): 266–244) religious components to individuals’ willingness to justify ethically suspect behaviors. Using data on 63,087 individuals from 44 countries, we find support for three hypotheses: the cognitive, one affective, and the behavioral component of religion are negatively related to ethics. Surprisingly, one aspect of the cognitive component (i.e., belief in religion) shows no relationship. Implications for research and practice are discussed.


religionethicscross-national study
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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007