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Article
Publication date: 23 October 2017

Leslie E. Sekerka and Marianne Marar Yacobian

The purpose of this paper is to call to public leaders to exercise moral courage in choosing to understand and address phobic biases and prejudicial attitudes toward Muslims in…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to call to public leaders to exercise moral courage in choosing to understand and address phobic biases and prejudicial attitudes toward Muslims in the workplace. With reference to developments in the USA, workplace discrimination is framed as an ethical issue, with Islamophobia viewed as a rapidly growing concern.

Design/methodology/approach

This work is a practical application of existing theory and research in positive organizational scholarship to address the concern of workplace discrimination; specifically Islamophobia. Propositions are developed to depict how public leaders can address Islamophobia and other forms of discrimination by role modeling moral courage.

Findings

The findings show that Islamophobia is an ethical challenge for public leaders, one that can begin to be addressed by exercising character strength that promotes tolerance, civility, and respect. This proactive approach will enable public leaders to serve as pillars of openness, inclusion, and thoughtful regard for others, regardless of organizational members’ faith or culture.

Social implications

The social implications are to encourage discourse among global public leaders, prompting awareness and concern for Islamophobia and promoting more informed paths for productive scholarship.

Originality/value

Studies of workplace discrimination typically focus on race and gender, with few considering how Muslims face increasing Islamophobia. This work adds value to the existing literature by explicitly encouraging public leaders to respond, rather than react, to discrimination with moral competency.

Details

International Journal of Public Leadership, vol. 13 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-4929

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 20 November 2018

Leslie Elizabeth Sekerka and Marianne Marar Yacobian

The marginalization of Muslims can foster anxiety, anger, or fear in the workplace. Such negative reactions may prompt incivility among coworkers, denigrating a thoughtful regard…

1494

Abstract

Purpose

The marginalization of Muslims can foster anxiety, anger, or fear in the workplace. Such negative reactions may prompt incivility among coworkers, denigrating a thoughtful regard for others. While legal protections are intended to promote fairness, mandates do not always prevent discrimination. As a result, management needs to frame anti-Muslimism as an ethical issue and proactively cultivate environments that support respect. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

To understand how anti-Muslimism may emerge in organizational settings, this work defines Islamophobia and examines how it manifests as workplace discrimination. The extant literature on the subject and a sample of anti-Muslim discrimination cases are studied to better understand this phenomenon.

Findings

An analysis of representative Equal Employment Opportunity Commission cases shows that a lack of accommodation for religious practices is a major ethical issue. Management can proactively address value tensions by creating safe spaces for organizational learning. Balanced experiential inquiry is offered as a process to help employees reveal their embedded biases through personal reflection and collective inquiry.

Practical implications

If managers intend to encourage equity and inclusion, they need to foster organizational learning that tackles emerging forms of discrimination like Islamophobia. A sustained focus on moral development becomes an imperative toward establishing an ethical climate and a workplace that fosters respect for all organizational members.

Social implications

Because organizations are at the intersection of business and society, it is incumbent upon managers to create environments that reject hostilities toward those who may be perceived as different.

Originality/value

In today’s sociopolitical climate, the concern of discrimination toward Muslims is a mainstream ethical issue. A compliance-based approach to advance organizational ethics is not enough. The authors present a way forward, building moral strength through moral competency.

Details

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, vol. 37 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-7149

Keywords

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