The Role of Religion in Businesses from a Three-Dimensional Perspective - Entrepreneurship, Marketing and Organizational Management

By Agheorghiesei (Corodeanu, Daniela Tatiana; Copoeru, Ion et al. | Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies, Winter 2016 | Go to article overview

The Role of Religion in Businesses from a Three-Dimensional Perspective - Entrepreneurship, Marketing and Organizational Management


Agheorghiesei (Corodeanu, Daniela Tatiana, Copoeru, Ion, Horia, Nicolae, Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies


Introduction

The teaching of religion in school is an intensely debated topic both in the social dialogues and in the academic researches, in the current context of globalization, of the dynamic modification of the migration maps and of the international events. The teaching of religion exists in almost all the countries of the world and, depending on the relationship between the state and the church, on the predominant denomination and the secularized traditions, there are several modalities of approaching it in the educational process. Jean-Paul Willaime identifies three lines of development in this field in the European countries: "an increasing integration of religious education, whether denominational or not, into the general educational targets of school and of its missions; a development, to different degrees, of religious and philosophical plurality in the European societies; an escalation of tension and conflict creation", resulting from these development tendencies1. But the major preoccupations are mainly related to the content of the curriculum and to the methods the teachers use. Jeff Passe and Lara Willox suggest that adjustments are necessary at the level of the curriculum, which should be more concerned with cultural anthropology, with a special focus on comparative religion2". For instance, the research made by Sheridan, Wilmer & Atcheson among 280 full-time educators in 25 schools of social assistance in the USA underlined their positive attitude towards introducing religion and spirituality in the curriculum of social assistance, as a specialized course, these elements having to be approached "as two components of the personal and cultural identity that are to be understood in order to perform efficient services3". The respondents expressed their preoccupations with the conflicts that might emerge "depending on the way content is taught", estimating that "there is a good and a bad way to manage the topic, both in practice and during the class4". The inclusion of religion in the national educational standards in the USA is one of the functional models but as Douglass notices, "a better teacher training and a more careful planning of curriculum are needed5".

The report "Religion in the Public School Curriculum: Questions and Answers", edited by the Americans United Research Foundation, provides a clear guidance that makes the difference between "a teaching that is approved at the constitutional level and one of non-constitutional indoctrination", the school playing an essential role in this6: the approach should be academic, not devotional; the goal should be that of making the students aware of the existence and characteristics of religions, and no pressure must be made on them to accept any of these; the aim should be the study of religion and not the practice of religion; the diversity of standpoints and not a particular one should be presented; all religions should be taught, none of them should be promoted or denigrated; the diversity of religious beliefs should be talked about and the students should not be conformed to any of these. The final purpose of teaching religion is to form the civic abilities necessary for understanding religious differences, for creating the spirit of tolerance, of respect and acceptance in a pluralist society, where the different values and beliefs could work together in a beneficial way and could be exploited in the life of organizations, in businesses and in society in general.

Religion, the entrepreneurial spirit and business development. Connections and divergences

The analysis of the influence that religious values have upon businesses has preoccupied researchers from several fields: economic and social entrepreneurship, commerce, marketing and consumer's behavior, leadership and organizational management.

An ample picture describing how religious values model the entrepreneurial spirit and behavior is provided by Anderson et al. (quoted), who focus their analysis on seven aspects: different religions highlights to different extents of entrepreneurship; different religions generate different models of entrepreneurship, possibly because of the differences in terms of values - asceticism, frugality, temperance -, but also because of specialization, a monopoly-like one, of the networks; specialization along with the religious lines model entrepreneurship; the networks of credits, of employment, of information and supply of the brethren influence entrepreneurship; religions provide opportunities for entrepreneurship; religious beliefs could impede the entrepreneurial spirit; religions created mechanisms for the perpetuation of values7. …

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