The purpose of this paper is to examine the influence of Shariah board members and managerial networking on zakat observance among executives of Islamic financial firms (IFFs) in Bahrain and Malaysia.
The methodology is based on surveys administered to 106 respondents and personal interviews conducted with individuals holding management positions in IFFs.
The paper finds that: networking among IFF executives in Bahrain positively influences their observance and perception of zakat in their firms; and higher representation of Shariah on the board of directors increases executives’ favorable perception and observance of zakat in Malaysia. Differences in findings may be explained by Bahrain’s global Shariah institutions where networking offers opportunities for socialization of zakat ethics. In Malaysia, on the other hand, Shariah directorship sets the pace and direction of zakat ethics.
The seminal work of DiMaggio and Powell (1991) on neo-institutional theory has drawn attention to executives’ agency in creating cognitive frameworks that help promote the development of firm standards and norms. However, application of the theory to Islamic finance is largely absent. This paper contributes to an empirical understanding of the theory by highlighting sources of IFFs’ social agency in the development of zakat norm and its observance, namely, managerial networking and Shariah directors as change agents.
Poon, J.P.H., Chow, Y.W., Ewers, M. and Hamilton, T. (2021), "Executives’ observance of zakat among Islamic financial institutions: evidence from Bahrain and Malaysia", Journal of Islamic Accounting and Business Research, Vol. 12 No. 4, pp. 509-523. https://doi.org/10.1108/JIABR-07-2020-0211
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