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Islamic Family Business: The Constitutive Role of Religion in Business

Abstract

Religion has significantly influenced societies throughout history and across the globe. Family firms—particularly those operating in strongly religious regions—are more likely to be subject to the influence of religion. However, little is known about the mechanisms by which religion affects business activities in family firms. We study how religion impacts business activities through a qualitative study of two Anatolian-based family firms in Turkey. We find that religion provides a dominant meaning system that plays a key role in constituting business activities through three mechanisms: (1) family imports religious practices as business practices; (2) family adheres to religious values as a rationale for business actions; and (3) family religious values define business taboos by avoiding the evil eye. These mechanisms highlight how religion becomes a source of well-understood business practices, how religion defines the nature of rationality that guides business activities, and how religious taboos can delimit the range of potential business activities, respectively.

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Notes

  1. Pseudonyms are used throughout to maintain anonymity.

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Correspondence to Mustafa Kavas.

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Kavas, M., Jarzabkowski, P. & Nigam, A. Islamic Family Business: The Constitutive Role of Religion in Business. J Bus Ethics 163, 689–700 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-019-04384-5

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Keywords

  • Religion
  • Islamic practices
  • Family businesses
  • Integration of religion and business