, Volume 80, Issue 2, pp 387-398
Date: 08 Jun 2007

Ethics and Religion: An Empirical Test of a Multidimensional Model

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Abstract

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.

K. Praveen Parboteeah (Ph.D. Washington State University) is an Associate Professor of International Management in the Department of Management, University of Wisconsin - Whitewater. Parboteeah’s research interests include international management, ethics, religion and technology and innovation management. He has published articles in numerous academic journals including Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, Decision Sciences, Small Group Research, Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of World Business, Management International Review, International Journal of Human Resource Management, R&D Management and Journal of Engineering and Technology Management
Martin Hoegl (Ph.D. University of Karlsruhe, Germany) is Professor at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, where he holds the Chair of Leadership and Human Resource Management. Before joining WHU, he served on the faculties of Washington State University and Bocconi University (Milan, Italy). His research interests include leadership and collaboration in organizations, management of R&D personnel, knowledge creation in innovation processes, and the management of geographically dispersed collaboration. He has published in leading international journals, including the Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, the Journal of Management, Decision Sciences, and others.
John B. Cullen is Professor of Management at Washington State University. He has also served on the faculties of the University of Nebraska, the University of Rhode Island, Waseda and Keio Universities in Japan (as a Fulbright lecturer), and the Catholic University of Lille in France. Professor Cullen is the past president of the Western Academy of Management. Professor Cullen is the author or co-author of four books and over 60 journal articles. His publications have appeared in journals such as Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Journal, Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of Management, Organizational Studies, Management International Review, Journal of Vocational Behavior, American Journal of Sociology, Organizational Dynamics, and the Journal of World Business. He currently serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies and has served on the editorial boards of the Academy of Management Journal and Advances in International Comparative Management Journal.