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Religiosity, socio-economic development and work values: a cross-national study

Hamid Yeganeh (College of Business, Winona State University, Winona, MN, USA)

Journal of Management Development

ISSN: 0262-1711

Article publication date: 11 May 2015




The purpose of this paper is to use international survey data to investigate the effects of religiosity, religious denomination, communist heritage, and socio-economic development on work values.


First, religiosity and work values are conceptualized. Next, the relationships among these concepts are discussed and the hypotheses, variables, and data are presented. Finally, the results of the empirical tests are presented and the theoretical and managerial implications, as well as avenues for future research, are discussed.


It is found that socio-economic development negatively, whereas religiosity and communist heritage positively, influence extrinsic work values. Further analysis reveals that religiosity has a quadratic relationship with intrinsic work values. Conspicuously, after controlling for the effects of religiosity, no significant association is found between religious denominations and work values.

Research limitations/implications

The current analysis relies only on national/societal level data and overlooks the effects of independent variables (religiosity and communist heritage) at the individual level. Furthermore, the methodologies and measurements of religiosity and work values are of a limited scope. Thus, future studies may look into the effects of religiosity on work values at the individual level and apply other conceptualizations and measures to test the validity of the results.

Practical implications

Based on the findings of this study, it can be suggested that the use of intrinsic rewards might be less appropriate in the societies marked by communist heritage or high religiosity. On the contrary, these societies may embrace more extrinsic work values associated with direct, restrictive, and tangible aspects of work.


This study contributes to the literature by conceptualizing, measuring, and incorporating various variables into the research design and by providing original insights into the influence of religion on work values. Furthermore, this study suggests that, at least with regard to work values, religiosity (the strength of one’s conviction for their religion) is more important than religious denomination (Protestantism, Catholicism, Islam, Orthodox Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism).



Yeganeh, H. (2015), "Religiosity, socio-economic development and work values: a cross-national study", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 34 No. 5, pp. 585-600.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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