Our research tidbits this week looks at the relationship between religious values and organisational outcomes in family firms.

A model of religious value transmission in US family firms 
Research indicates that religious values and ethical behaviour are closely associated, yet, at a firm level, the processes by which this association occurs are poorly understood.

Family firms are known to exhibit values-based behaviour, which in turn can lead to specific firm-level outcomes. It is also known that one’s family is an important incubator, enabler, and perpetuator of religious values across successive generations. This study examines the experiences of a single, multigenerational business family that successfully enacted their religious values in their business. Drawing upon intergenerational solidarity and values-based leadership theory, and by way of an interpretive, qualitative analysis, the authors find that the family’s religious values enhanced their cohesion and were manifested in their leadership style, which, in turn, led to outcomes for the business.

The findings highlight the processes that underlie the relationship between religious values and organisational outcomes in family firms and offer insights into the role of solidarity in values-based leadership.

Francesco Barbera, Henry X. Shi, Ankit Agarwal & Mark Edwards. 2020. The Family That Prays Together Stays Together: Toward a Process Model of Religious Value Transmission in Family Firms. 
Journal of Business Ethics, 163(4), 661–673.


Faith and stewardship in US and Canadian family businesses
The purpose of this study is to examine how faith-led practices in family firms affect organisational stewardship. Current studies highlight the relevance of religious adherence for family businesses, yet provide limited understanding of how this shapes the key traits of these organisations.

Drawing on six autobiographies of family business leaders who openly express their adherence to their faith, and adopting an open-systems analysis of these autobiographies, the authors demonstrate that faith-led values influence organisational and leadership practices.

Overall, this study suggests that the influence of religious beliefs in the organisational practices of family businesses have greater repercussions than previously thought. By introducing a faith-led approach to stewardship, the authors enrich the theoretical discussion around stewardship and the relevance of religion in family business.

Angela Carradus, Ricardo Zozimo & Allan Discua Cruz. 2020. Exploring a Faith-Led Open-Systems Perspective of Stewardship in Family Businesses.
Journal of Business Ethics, 163(4), 701–714.


Spiritual leadership in US family firms for family and non-family members
Drawing from conservation of resources theory, the authors theorise that spiritual leadership serves as both a resource to enhance employees’ organisational commitment and a passageway to mitigate the negative effects of work–family conflict.

Using primary triadic data from leaders, family employees, and nonfamily employees in 77 family firms, results support the authors’ theorising that organisational commitment is enhanced by spiritual leadership but is decreased by work–family conflict. Contrary to theory, however, spiritual leadership exacerbated the negative effects of work–family conflict.

Further analysis reveals that family and nonfamily employees respond differently to leadership and work–family stressors. While spiritual leadership has positive effects for family employees, it has negative effects for nonfamily employees experiencing high work–family conflict.

William Tabor, Kristen Madison, Laura E. Marler & Franz W. Kellermanns. 2020. The Effects of Spiritual Leadership in Family Firms: A Conservation of Resources Perspective. 
Journal of Business Ethics, 163(4), 729–743.


Market reaction to donations by family vs. non-family firms with religious CEOs 
Using a signalling framework, the authors argue that ethical behaviour as evidenced by charitable donations is viewed more positively by investors when seen not to be based on self-serving motives but rather on authentic generosity that builds moral capital.

The affirmed religiosity of CEOs may make their ethical position more credible, while their embeddedness within a family business suggests that CEOs are backed by powerful owners with long-time horizons and a desire to build moral capital with stakeholders.

The authors find in a study of market responses to 1572 corporate donations by S&P 1500 firms that financial markets react more positively to charitable initiatives from firms with religion-declared CEOs, but only if these are family businesses.

Min Maung, Danny Miller, Zhenyang Tang & Xiaowei Xu. 2020. Value-Enhancing Social Responsibility: Market Reaction to Donations by Family vs. Non-family Firms with Religious CEOs. 
Journal of Business Ethics, 163(4), 745–758.


Relationship between religiosity, temporal orientation, and goals in US family business
To study how religiosity affects family business goals, the authors merge literatures on goal setting, temporal orientation, and family business to argue that family business goals can be distinguished into short-term and long-term orientations and propose that religiosity affects both orientations, but to varying degrees.

Drawing on a sample of private U.S. family businesses and applying partial least squares structural equations modelling, the authors find tentative support that religiosity has a stronger positive effect on long-term goal orientation than on short-term goal orientation. The authors discuss implications for theory development and future research involving religiosity and family business goals.

Torsten M. Pieper, Ralph I. Williams Jr., Scott C. Manley & Lucy M. Matthews. 2020. What Time May Tell: An Exploratory Study of the Relationship Between Religiosity, Temporal Orientation, and Goals in Family Business. 
Journal of Business Ethics, 163(4), 759–773.