Skip to main content
Log in

Islam and CSR: A Study of the Compatibility Between the Tenets of Islam and the UN Global Compact

  • Published:
Journal of Business Ethics Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

This paper looks at whether the tenets of Islam are consistent with the ‘Ten Principles’ of responsible business outlined in the UN Global Compact. The paper concludes that with the possible exception of Islam’s focus on personal responsibility and the non-recognition of the corporation as a legal person, which could undermine the concept of corporate responsibility, there is no divergence between the tenets of the religion and the principles of the UN Global Compact. Indeed, Islam often goes further and has the advantage of clearer codification of ethical standards as well as a set of explicit enforcement mechanisms. Focusing on this convergence of values could be useful in the development of a new understanding of CSR in a global context and help avert the threatened “clash of civilisations”.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Afshar, H.: 2004, “Islam, Human Capital, the Role of Women”, speech given by Professor Haleh Afshar at a Conference Entitled “Corporate Social Responsibility—Creating Greater Competitive Advantage” at the Securities Commission in Kuala Lumpur on June 21st 2004.

  • Agle, B., and Van Buren, H. J.: 1999, “God and Mammon: The Modern Relationship,” Business Ethics Quarterly, Vol. 9(4), 563-582 doi:10.2307/3857935.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ahmad, K.: 1971, “Islam: Basic Principles and Characteristics”, University of Karachi: Karachi.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ahmad, K.: 2003, “An Islamic Perspective”, in Dunning, J., (ed), Making Globlaization Good, Oxford: OUP.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ali, A. (2005) Islamic Perspectives on management and Organisation, Cheltenham, England: Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd.

    Google Scholar 

  • Al-Qaradawi, Y.: 1985, The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam. Islamic Book Trust, Kuala Lumpur

    Google Scholar 

  • Angelidis, J. P. and N. Ibrahim: 2004, ‘An Exploratory Study of the Impact of Degree of Religiousness upon an Individual’s Corporate social Responsiveness Orientation, Journal of Business Ethics, 51(2), 119–128.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Badawi, A.A. (2006) Islam Hadhari: A model approach for development and progress, Kuala Lumpur: MPH Publishing Sdn. Bhd.

    Google Scholar 

  • Beekun, R. I.: 1996, Islamic Business Ethics (International Institute of Islamic Thought, Virginia).

  • Beekun, R. I., and Badawi, J. A.: 2005, “Balancing Ethical Responsibility Among Multiple Organizational Stakeholders: The Islamic Perspective”, Journal of Business Ethics, 60, 131-145.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bhatia, A.: 2004, Speech given by Lord Bhatia entitled “CSR: An Islamic Perspective” at a Conference on “Singapore/UK Developing Corporate Social Responsibility” at the Shangri La hotel in Singapore on February 23, 2004.

  • Brammer, S., G. Williams J. Zinkin: 2005, ‘Religion and Attitudes to Corporate Social Responsibility in a Large Cross-Country Sample’, Mimeo, Centre for Business Organisations and Society, School of Management, University of Bath.

  • Calkins, M.: 2000, “Recovering Religion’s Prophetic Voice for Business Ethics”, Journal of Business Ethics, Volume 23, 339-352.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chapra, M. U.: 1992, Islam and the Economic Challenge (International Institute of Islamic Thought, Leicester, VA)

    Google Scholar 

  • Chapra, M. U.: 2000, The Future of Economics: An Islamic Perspective (The Islamic Foundation, Leicester), pp. 147–148.

  • Epstein, E. M.: 2002 Religion and Business—The Critical Role of Religious Traditions in Management Education. Journal of Business Ethics 38: 91-96.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gambling T, Karim R (1991) Business and Accounting Ethics in Islam. Mansell: London.

    Google Scholar 

  • Guiso L, Sapienza Poala, Zingales L (2003) People’s opium? Religion and economic attitudes. Journal of Monetary Economics 50, 225-282.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hofstede, G., and Hofstede, J-G.: 2005, Cultures and Organizations: Software of the mind, New York: McGraw-Hill.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ibrahim, N. and Angelidis, J. P.: 1993, “Corporate Social Responsibility: A Comparative Analysis of Perceptions of Top Executives and Business Students”, The Mid-Atlantic Journal of Business 29(3), 303–314.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ingelhart, R.: 1997, Modernization and Postmodernization: Cultural, Economic and Political Change in 43 Societies. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Interfaith Declaration: 1993, A Code of Ethics on International Business for Christians, Muslims and Jews, Amman, Jordan. http://astro.temple.edu/~dialogue/Codes/cmj_codes.htm.

  • Kidwell, J. M., Stevens, R. E., and Bethke, A. L.: 1987, “Differences in Ethical Perceptions Between Male and Female Managers”, Journal of Business Ethics 6(6), 489–493.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lewis, M. K.: 2001, “Islam and Accounting”, Accounting Forum, 25 (2), 103-127.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Longenecker, J.G., McKinney, J.A., and Moore, C.W.: 2004 “Religious Intensity, Evangelical Christianity, and Business Ethics: An Empirical Study”, Journal of Business Ethics, 55 (4), 373-386.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Maudoodi, A, S. A. A. Maudoodi: 1982, “Fundamentals of Islam”, 6th Edition, Islamic Publication Limited: Lahore.

    Google Scholar 

  • Maudoodi, A. and S. A. A. Maudoodi: 2005, ‘Human Rights in Islam: The Political Framework Of Islam’, http://www.jamaat.org/islam/HumanRightsPolitical.html, visited on July 11th 2005 and http://www.geocities.com/indiafas/India/human_rights_in_islam.html.

  • Mernissi, F.: 1991, Fatima, Women and Islam: An Historical and Theological Enquiry (Blackwell, Oxford), cited in ‘Islam, Human Capital, the Role of Women’, Speech Given by Professor Haleh Afshar at a Conference Entitled ‘Corporate Social Responsibility – Creating Greater Competitive Advantage’ at the Securities Commission in Kuala Lumpur on June 21st 2004.

  • Miesing, P. and Preble, J. F.: 1985, “A Comparison of Five Business Philosophies”, Journal of Business Ethics 4(6), 465–476.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Muslim, S.: 2005, The Book of Transactions, Book 10 (Kitab Al-Buyu), quoted at http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/muslim/010.smt.html visited on November 2nd 2005.

  • Rahman, Y. A.: 1994, “Interest Free Islamic Banking”, Al-Hilal Publishing: Kuala Lumpur.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ramadan, T. (2004) Western Muslims and the Future of Islam, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Razak, N. and Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abd Razak: 2004, Speech Given by the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia at the International Seminar on “Value-based Total Performance” at IKIM on July 1st 2004.

  • Rest, J. R.: 1986, Moral Development: Advances in Research and Theory (Praeger: New York).

    Google Scholar 

  • Rice, G.: 1999, `Islamic Ethics and the Implications for Business’. Journal of Business Ethics 18(4), 345-358.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sacks, J.: 2004, “The Dignity of Difference”, Continuum: London.

    Google Scholar 

  • Siddiqui, A.: 1997, `Ethics in Islam: Key Concepts and Contemporary Challenges’. Journal of Moral Education 26(4), 423-431.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Smith, P. L. and Oakley, E. F.: 1996, “The Value of Ethics Education in Business School Curriculum”, College Student Journal 30, 274–283.

    Google Scholar 

  • Stackhouse, M. L., McCann, D.P., and Finke, R.: 1995, “On Moral Business”, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tamari, M.: 1990, “Ethical Issues in Bankruptcy: A Jewish Perspective”, Journal of Business Ethics, Volume 9, Issue 10, 785-789.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Terpstra, D.E.J., Rozell, E.J., and Robinson, R.K.: 1993, “The Influences of Personality and Demographic Variables on Ethical Decisions Related to Insider Trading”, Journal of Psychology, 127, 375-389.

    Google Scholar 

  • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) (2002) Arab Human Development Report 2002, New York: United Nations Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  • Weaver, G.R., and Agle, B.R: 2002, “Religiosity and Ethical Behavior in Organizations: A Symbolic Interactionist Perspective”, Academy of Management Review 27 (1), 77-97.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Williams, G., Zinkin, J. (2005a) Doing business with Islam: Can Corporate Social Responsibility be a bridge between civilisations?. Malaysia Campus: mimeo Nottingham University Business School.

    Google Scholar 

  • Williams, G and Zinkin, J. (2005b) Socio-political and economic influences on consumers’ willingness to punish irresponsible corporate behaviour across 30 countries. mimeo Nottingham University Business School-Malaysia Campus.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ziaudin, S.: 1990, Masa Hadapan Islam Bentuk Idea Yang Akan Datang, Penterjemah, Mohd Siden, Ahmad Ishak, Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka: Kuala Lumpur.

  • Zinkin, J.: 2004, ‘Getting CSR Right’, Paper Given at a Conference Entitled “CSR – Creating Competitive Advantage” Held at the Securities Commission in Kuala Lumpur on July 21st 2004.

Download references

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the Editor in Chief and anonymous referees for very helpful and constructive comments on an earlier version of this paper.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Geoffrey Williams.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Williams, G., Zinkin, J. Islam and CSR: A Study of the Compatibility Between the Tenets of Islam and the UN Global Compact. J Bus Ethics 91, 519–533 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-009-0097-x

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-009-0097-x

Keywords

Navigation