Does Religious Belief Affect the Performance of Organizations?

According to a recent study, Chinese companies exposed to Confucianism outperformed their peers and did more for their communities. James Heskett questions whether the role of religion in management deserves further investigation.

Anyone who has tried Chick-fil-A on Sunday knows how much religious beliefs influence the organizational policies of this company. Chick-fil-A honors the Christian faith and is closed on Sundays. Whether this will affect growth and profitability is questionable. And since the question applies more to organizations in general, we don’t have much to add to answer it.

I’ve been interested in the influence of culture on performance for decades and have worked with John Kotter in 1992 to study this issue. We have developed data showing that organizational culture has a significant impact on the compound rate of annual net income growth, annual return on invested capital, and annual stock price growth. We have found that strong cultures can have a significant positive or negative impact on performance. However, when combined with values ​​that promote adaptability (including openness, learning and sharing), the results are encouraging.

We came to our conclusions after collecting and reviewing survey data from hundreds of top executives that identified America’s strongest cultural organizations, compared it to performance data, and then conducted field research in a defined group of companies to explain why some organizations have strong cultures. Good work and some bad work.

“The team finds that the company is exposed to Confucianism…COMPETITION WITH OTHER PEOPLE.”

Other studies have focused on the influence of CEOs’ knowledge base on their attitudes towards uncertainty and risk-taking, with resulting implications for the organization. Office. I am impressed by recent research linking Confucian beliefs to the active work of Chinese companies.

In this study, three researchers from China and Singapore examined the current activities of Chinese companies near the locations of Confucian secular schools in China. , according to the researchers, has hardly any influence today.

The team found that Confucianist-exposed companies that correlated their location with the frequency of various measures of religious belief and practice outperformed their peers. their colors paintings elsewhere. These companies pay “higher social security contributions, better employee protection, and spend more on entertainment, more patents, and more trade credit,” the researchers write.

“THE STUDENTS’ CONCLUSION: ‘THIS COMPANY is consistent with the FIVE core ethics of Confucianism.’”

The researchers concluded that “the characteristics of this endeavor are consistent with the core virtues of Confucianism. of Confucianism in : Benevolent (compassionate and selfless), just (respecting and helping others), courteous, wise (“using knowledge wisely”), and benevolent Generous Confidence People can ask all sorts of questions about this study.

First, the cause and effect timeline spans a very long period of time. Clearly, religion is just one of many factors that contribute to leadership and effectiveness. Correlation rears its usual ugly face as an analytical tool, but there are other attempts to link cause and effect in this relatively thorough study. These concerns aside, the value of this study, like any serious effort, often lies in the questions it raises, not in the questions you are trying to answer.

Does it make sense to try to measure the impact of ideological and religious differences on organizational culture and thus on financial results? If they are published, will they affect those interested in the organization? If we continue to look at the impact of popular religious or political beliefs on performance, will this affect who we hire, how we lead and direct, and how we do it?

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