Are religion and spirituality able to promote ethical conduct at work? This is a controversial question and our research that includes discussions with forty Indian high-level executives suggests it could. We discovered that virtues embedded in various traditions of spirituality and religion (Hinduism, Jainism, Islam, Sikhism, Christianity and Zoroastrianism) are a factor in moral decision-making at work.
Three executives explained that these values encouraged virtues such as honesty, flexibility and moral excellence, as well as acceptance and accountability. A top executive from the automotive sector spoke about the virtues of flexibility:
…our Islamic religion teaches us to never shut the door to other’s opinions. I follow this principle or value, or however you prefer to describe it when I am working. I listen to my coworkers. We try to resolve our differences and find a compromise always in the effort to hold true to our fundamental convictions. Certain executives believed it was best to quit from their job when confronted with a moral dilemma.
Ethical Values Embedded
They blamed this on the ethical values embedded in their spiritual and religious beliefs when they made this difficult decision. A senior executive in the IT industry said the fact that he quit the company he worked for because of his religious beliefs did not align with the company’s constant copyright violations. He remained true to his word:
I couldn’t rest at night for a few nights, and I contacted the Zoroastrian religious advisor, who suggested I look for work elsewhere. I quit the company for the current company and believe I avoided an arrow.
Seven executives who didn’t belong to a spiritual or religious group suggested that non-religious virtues that focus on humanistic ethics as well as professionalism should be promoted.
India is an all-faith country and it was suggested that a multi-faith viewpoint could help employees stay neutral. A senior executive from the media sector suggested that workplaces should allow people who are not religious or spiritual to be a part of their own beliefs about human nature:
Ethics should be practiced on a human scale. When we open it to interpretation by religion it can be the subject of unending debates and confusion. Ethics for me is a matter of secularism. You must be aware and consider the implications of your business decisions to establish the ethical guidelines. Religion may provide some sort of model, however to me, it’s an obstacle.
Spirituality Based On Religion
In spirituality based on religion, certain influences from some or all of the religious traditions could be use in order to reach attaining a goal. In non-religious spirituality, there is usually no religion. The spirituality of these people is built on humanistic or secular values such as the need to be connect with people in the workplace or in the society, and fulfilling a higher purpose in the world, without necessarily calling attention to God or the Creator.
Recent research has linked religious belief and spirituality with moral and ethical corporate responsibility; altruistic behaviour as well as ethical and social actions.
Certain studies have questioned these conclusions, but by presenting evidence that contradicts the conclusions. Some have argued that religious belief and religion-based religious beliefs could lead to unsavory behavior. For instance, the discrimination against someone who doesn’t share the same beliefs. It could even be a factor in hiring procedures and how people treat colleagues in the workplace.
Ensuring Ethical Decisions
Our study that was publish in May 2017 analyzed the role played by religious belief in the growth of moral qualities in India. These virtues were compassion and justice, temperance and transparency. They also exhibited conscientiousness, honesty, moral fortitude, and wisdom.
The virtues of the person translate into competences that encourage ethical conduct. In this case, empathy is related to the various ways to communicate with colleagues and build strong working relationships. Examples are nurturing a particular individual, building friendly relations” and “not using seniority to get subordinates to do something unethical.
Furthermore, temperance is a focus on your integrity as a person and helps to avoiding contact with someone of dubious character and not wavering from one’s ethical principles.
Capacity To Be Ethical
Conscientiousness is the capacity to be ethical even when confronted with the temptation. A top executive from the engineering sector told me that when a colleague advise him to alter the cost of goods to increase markups that were unreasonable He refuse to do it and was advise to. When I deal with my customers, I will make sure not to deceive them. I will ensure that they get the best quality.
Moral questions and contradictions despite the vast array of spirituality and religions unsavory behaviours like corruption, bribery, and nepotism seem to be widespread in India.
One possibility is that some people justify their ethical lapses due to external pressure to comply with. The pressure to conform, coupled with personal greed may outweigh any desire to maintain ethical standards.
Continuous training in the form of workshops, seminars, and case studies that focus on ethics is essential. For instance an executive who runs consulting service businesses.Categories: Uncategorized