Academic journal article Business Renaissance Quarterly

Psychology or Religion? Making the Case for Economic and Organizational Impact

Academic journal article Business Renaissance Quarterly

Psychology or Religion? Making the Case for Economic and Organizational Impact

Article excerpt


Devout atheist and often religious antagonist Richard Dawkins rightly proclaims that "Explaining is a difficult art (1996: xiv)." Yet it seems all too necessary in these trying times of major religions vying for world domination and when almost all universities have multiple courses addressing religion, ethics, and values. In the name of political correctness and to avoid offending, we seem to ignore the impact religion has on not just the theory and study of management and leadership but also on the practice of those disciplines. The execution of managerial duties of planning, organizing, leading, controlling and staffing centers squarely on effective and efficient decision-making (Drucker, 1998). Decision-making, making choices under varying degrees of uncertainty, is in need of solid guidelines to insure that multiple and often conflicting goals are satisfied in settings that are almost always extremely complex (Rumsfeld, 2013). This article is making the case for the use of Biblical Christian Principles in supporting decisionmaking guidelines (Service and Carson, 2009). It is not an attempt to change or attack other beliefs, but to show how the tenants of Christianity with its Jewish underpinnings can provide better decision-making criteria even for non-believers or those of another faith. We implore the reader to identify and evaluate the impacts of religion on all economies and organizations; be those influences the result of a Deity or purely psychological influences they arguably exist.


The Body Shop, Patagonia, Ben Et Jerry's (and many others documented in the popular press), generally failed at attempting to put social responsibility into their business plans. The current authors espouse that these recent attempts may have failed in part because they attempted to separate any idea of religion or religious teachings from their "social responsibility" efforts. We are not simply arguing that "social responsibility" should be a component of corporate culture because of religious beliefs. We do, however, agree with the conceptual basis that forwards the notion that,

[t]he consequences of a divorce between the world of business and the world of faith would be disastrous in both arenas. For the world of business it would mean not acknowledging any values higher than expediency, profit, and utility, which would result in what has been described as bloody or savage capitalism.....Similarly, the preconceived notions of religious leaders must be challenged to avoid the charge of "being so heavenly minded they are no earthly good." Forgetting that enterprise requires insight or intuition, and not merely a transcendent reference point directing it to the overall good of society, religious critics disregard the implicit spiritual dimension of enterprise (Sirico, 2000: p. 2).

The current authors are admittedly Christian and acknowledge that their faith greatly influences their thinking: this should be no surprise! However, in this article we are not attempting to influence the readers of the holiness or spiritual aspects of the Biblical model. Therefore, we call upon those who study this article to not flippantly disparage religious based principles that can direct better decision making in commerce. One who disregards an idea simply because it is based on religious tenants should also disregard all social science in the area of commercial exchange, wealth creation, and other aspects of economics given that "social science" (including empirical studies) requires accepting at least some principles that are not altogether proven as absolute truths. Much support is found among thoughtful social scientists of the argument that accepting Biblical principles requires no more faith than the acceptance of secular principles (Emmett, 2012; Grassl, 2012; and Gay, 2002). Likewise, any thoughtful study of Adam Smith's economics of the invisible hand can be executed with or without religion because, in part, we all start with a preconceived view in mind (Benioff and Southwick, 2004; Butler, 2007; Gwartney and Stroup, 1993; Marshall, 2011; and Smith, 1976). …

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