This week our research tidbits cover ethical issues viewed through the lens of minority groups.

When and why are there gender differences in work–life conflict?
As men take on more family responsibilities over time, with women still shouldering considerably more childcare and housework, an important ethical matter facing organisations is that of providing a supportive environment to foster employee well-being and balance between work and family.

Using conservation of resources theory, this multi-source study examines the association between perceived family responsibility discrimination and work–life conflict as mediated by emotional exhaustion. Employee gender and power distance values are tested as moderators of the perceived family responsibility discrimination to emotional exhaustion relationship.

Results suggest that male employees who perceive family responsibility discrimination from their supervisor and hold high power distance values experience increased emotional exhaustion and work–life conflict. Female workers who perceive family responsibility discrimination from their supervisor experience increased emotional exhaustion and work–life conflict regardless of whether they have high or low power distance.

Findings are consistent with theory-based predictions from conservation of resources theory: resources that are valued and not provided in the work context deplete emotional energies and ultimately trigger work–life conflict. Findings build on the work–life literature by introducing gender and power distance as factors that shape when employees feel the draining effects of family responsibility discrimination.

Tiffany Trzebiatowski and María del Carmen Triana. 2020. Family Responsibility Discrimination, Power Distance, and Emotional Exhaustion: When and Why are There Gender Differences in Work–Life Conflict?
Journal of Business Ethics, 162(1), 15–29.


Do LGBT-supportive corporate policies improve credit ratings?
We investigate the effect of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT)-supportive corporate policies on credit ratings. To the extent that LGBT-friendly policies are beneficial to the firm and therefore improve its expected cash flows, credit rating agencies should assign more favourable credit ratings to the firm.

To alleviate endogeneity concerns, the authors exploit the variations in the LGBT populations across the states in the U.S. as our instrument. Our instrumental-variable (IV) analysis reveals that firms that adopt LGBT-supportive corporate policies enjoy better credit ratings, supporting the stakeholder and good management hypothesis.

Further analysis using propensity score matching also yields consistent results.

Pandej Chintrakarn, Sirimon Treepongkaruna, Pornsit Jiraporn and Sang Mook Lee. 2020. Do LGBT-Supportive Corporate Policies Improve Credit Ratings? An Instrumental-Variable Analysis.
Journal of Business Ethics, 162(1), 31–45.


Economic inequality through the lens of caste
Research on economic inequality has largely focused on understanding the relationship between organisations and inequality but has paid limited attention to the role of institutions in the creation and maintenance of inequality.

In this article, the authors use insights from the caste system—an institution that perpetuates socio-economic inequalities and limits human functions— to elaborate on three elements of economic inequality: uneven dispersions in resource endowments, uneven access to productive resources and opportunities, and uneven rewards to resource contributions.

The authors argue that economic inequalities persist because these three different elements of inequality feed from and reinforce each other. Our study underscores the potential of the caste lens to inform research on economic inequality as well as organisational theory and practice.

Hari Bapuji & Snehanjali Chrispal. 2020. Understanding Economic Inequality Through the Lens of Caste.
Journal of Business Ethics, 162(3),  533–551.


Negating economic inequality in an ephemeral religious organisation
In this article, the authors illuminate how a consumption practice in an ephemeral religious organisation subverts systems of economic inequality that otherwise prevail in, and structure, society. Drawing on a rich ethnographic study in Pakistan, the authors show how the practice of food consumption in the Tablighi Jamaat (TJ)—an Islamic organisation originating in South Asia that is practiced intermittently by its followers—represents temporal spaces of egalitarianism.

Within these temporal spaces, entrenched economic hierarchies that are salient in organising Pakistani society are challenged. The authors found that while the fundamental principles of the Tablighi Jamaat advocate for subversion of the economic hierarchies that propagate myriad inequalities by demarcating local Muslims into spheres of different social and economic classes, it is in the practice of food consumption when ethical transgression from these hierarchies are rendered most intelligible.

Finally, the authors consider the implications of this study to the emerging field of Islamic business ethics.

Ateeq A. Rauf & Ajnesh Prasad. 2020. Temporal Spaces of Egalitarianism: The Ethical Negation of Economic Inequality in an Ephemeral Religious Organization.
Journal of Business Ethics, 162(3),  699–718.