Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 47, Issue 2, pp 147–164

The Role of Religious and Nationalist Ethics in Strategic Leadership: The Case of J. N. Tata

  • Skip Worden

DOI: 10.1023/A:1026050230808

Cite this article as:
Worden, S. Journal of Business Ethics (2003) 47: 147. doi:10.1023/A:1026050230808


This paper examines the role that religious ethics, complemented by a nationalist principle, can play in a sustained exercise of strategic leadership, hypothesizing a positive association with a societal reputation for credibility or integrity. The key to this relation is the constraining effect on strategic or financial pressures, even if there is coherence in the long-term. J. N. Tata, the founder of Tata Industries who lived in British India, was a Parsee priest and an advocate for Indian national self-reliance and ultimately independence. Even as Tata's two ethics dovetailed with his business interests in the long-term, they conflicted sufficiently with the business calculus of some of his immediate and intermediate strategic interests such that he could enjoy a sterling societal reputation in India, his credibility transcending that of a businessman.

ethics India Parsee religion reputation strategic leadership Tata 

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Skip Worden
    • 1
  1. 1.DeKalbU.S.A.

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