A selection of interesting articles we came across recently on values, virtues and religion in sustainability.

Balanced organisational values?
Theories of organisation and management have offered several concepts and models, which indicate that organizational values are an important factor for running organizations successfully. A still unexplained question concerns the creation of balanced organizational values, which can support the achievement of several different and even conflicting goals of modern organisations. To explore balanced organizational values in contemporary business practice, these authors tested different models of organisational values on a sample of Fortune 100 companies.

Research results demonstrate that none of the proportions/ratios of balance proposed by the main models of organizational values from existing literature possesses/presents the ideal balance that is currently pursued in the business field. As a conclusion, a new model of balanced organisational values is proposed.

See more at: Ivan Malbašić, Carlos Rey and Vojko Potočan. 2015. Balanced Organizational Values: From Theory to Practice.
Journal of Business Ethics, 130(2), 437-446.


Spirituality & employee engagement at work
Employee engagement and spirituality have both been the focus of increasing interest by researchers and practitioners, and both are still early stage theories with ill-defined constructs and definitions. Emergent empirical work related to engagement and spirituality has supported the promise of improving both organizational performance and employee conditions. Responding to the call by theorists to examine engagement antecedents and specifically, the relationship between spirituality and employee engagement, a cross-sectional study was performed to examine self-reported individual spirituality as measured by the DSES and employee engagement measured using the UWES-9 including the dimensions of vigour, dedication, and absorption.

124 usable surveys were collected from a snowballing convenience sample and after confirming demographic representativeness and identifying the individual’s organisational role as a potential influential variable, analyses of the relationships between individual spirituality, overall engagement, and three individual engagement dimensions were performed using multiple regression controlling for organisational role. Empirical support was found for relationships between individual spirituality and engagement, vigour, and dedication but not for the engagement dimension of absorption.

The findings should encourage further future exploration of the relationship between spirituality and engagement and inquiry into why results differ across engagement’s dimensions; specifically, why the relationship was not supported for absorption. The empirical support for spirituality as a predictor of engagement informs practical decisions for addressing workplace spirituality and concerns with the potential to assist in countering the declining engagement trend.

Read further in: Richard A. Roof. 2015. The Association of Individual Spirituality on Employee Engagement: The Spirit at Work.
Journal of Business Ethics, 130(3), 585-599.


When does Christian religion matter for entrepreneurial activity?
This study furthers scholarship on the religion-entrepreneurship link by proposing that (1) aspects of a country’s religious profile impact individual entrepreneurial activity differently and (2) that a country’s level of investments in knowledge serves as a contingency factor in this milieu. A cross-level analyses of data from 9,266 individuals and 27 predominantly Christian countries support the second, but not the first suggestion. The study contributes to a more nuanced understanding of religion’s role for entrepreneurship and bridges the literatures on religion and knowledge-based entrepreneurship. Furthermore, the study provides evidence of the effects of religion above and beyond the effects of national culture.

Read more in: K. Praveen Parboteeah, Sascha G. Walter and Jörn H. Block. 2015. When Does Christian Religion Matter for Entrepreneurial Activity? The Contingent Effect of a Country’s Investments into Knowledge.
Journal of Business Ethics, 130(2), 447-465.


When an organization morally disengages
The purpose of this article is to provide a theoretical review of the moral disengagement literature, integrating research that has been completed as well as identifying thought lacunas, including the subfield of organizational moral disengagement. It is proposed that because moral disengagement is an inherently interpersonal phenomenon, organizational moral disengagement should be a salient concern of both organizational and management researchers.

A conceptual framework of organizational moral disengagement is suggested, examining moral disengagement at both the employee as well as manager/executive level. Lastly, a series of propositions are proffered in order to provide direction to organizational moral disengagement researchers, including the proposition that moral disengagement is a function of interpersonal proximity and the possession or lack of organizational power. Methods for effectively studying organizational moral disengagement are suggested.

See more detail at: James Franklin Johnson and M. Ronald Buckley. 2015. Multi-level Organizational Moral Disengagement: Directions for Future Investigation.
Journal of Business Ethics, 130(2), 291-300.


Effective risk management and virtue-based leadership
Using exploratory factor analysis on a unique dataset of global executives, Karen Campbell found that their perceptions of their national government’s risk management effectiveness are largely driven by two latent factors: leadership virtue, and governance. She shows that the leadership virtue signal is potentially a stronger signal (3.19 times more correlated with risk management perceptions than the governance indicator). She hypothesized that this may be because making decisions and taking actions to manage risk is a continuous process requiring inter alia foresight and moral discipline in looking to the interests of others and acting in service to those interests above self-interest.

This suggests at least two propositions for further testing, for which, the author offers rhetorical argument and anecdotal evidence at the end of this paper and suggests methodologies for further testing. The author claims that to her knowledge, this is the first paper to uncover this connection empirically between national risk management and leadership virtue.

The full paper is at: Karen A. Campbell. 2015. Can Effective Risk Management Signal Virtue-Based Leadership?
Journal of Business Ethics, 129(1), 115-130.


Ethics, values & organisational justice
This paper seeks to advance thinking about values and justice by studying the relationship between these constructs at the organisational level. Marshall Schminke and his associates hypothesised that collective perceptions of moral values in organisational settings will influence collective perceptions of justice. Survey results confirmed this. Data from 619 individuals in 108 departments strongly support the hypothesis that collective values influence perceptions of both procedural and overall justice climate. The authors discuss these results, and their implications for thinking about relationships between moral values and justice at even higher levels of analysis, such as society overall.

The full paper is at: Marshall Schminke, Anke Arnaud & Regina Taylor. 2015. Ethics, Values, and Organizational Justice: Individuals, Organizations, and Beyond.
Journal of Business Ethics, 130(3), 727-736.