Research Handbooks in Business and Management series
Edited by Abbas J. Ali
Chapter 4: Religion, virtuous conduct, justice, vocation and the ethics of hard work: a descriptive view of Islamic sociocultural systems and economics
Contemporary attentiveness of social scientists to the organization of work, structure of value and economy can be traced back to Max Weber whose interest included, among other issues, the role of work ethics in society. Essentially, Weber’s essay on ancient Chinese, Indian and Jewish religions entitled ‘The Economic Ethics of World Religions’ can direct us to the intersection between religion and economics or multiple forms of religion, family and work. Weber’s initial interest in the influence of the Protestant ethic on economic activities was influenced by his challenge of Marxian views. Bendix, in his exposition of Weber’s works (1977), noticed that Weber shifted away from this emphasis because some religious beliefs are indifferent to economic activities or discourage them. However, all religions endeavor to give ethical guidance to the worldly activities of their followers, whether or not that guidance includes an explicit ‘economic ethic’ (Bendix, 1977, p._257). The Weberian standpoint on the connection as well as the intersection of religion and economy is an archaic subject to the contemporary individual of a business school. Influenced by the concept of division of labor, religious topics are expected to be confined to the territory of the department of religious studies, just as history belongs to the department of history and business to the school of business.
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