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Cognitive Dissonanace In Ob

October 20, 2020
HAL Id: hal-01901056
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Moderating role of Cognitive Dissonance in the
relationship of Islamic work ethics and Job Satisfaction,
Turnover Intention & Job Performance
Javaid Shah, Delphine Lacaze
To cite this version:
Javaid Shah, Delphine Lacaze. Moderating role of Cognitive Dissonance in the relationship of Islamic
work ethics and Job Satisfaction, Turnover Intention & Job Performance. 29ème Congrès AGRH
2018, Oct 2018, lyon, France. �hal-01901056�
Moderating role of Cognitive Dissonance in the relationship of Islamic work
ethics and Job Satisfaction, Turnover Intention & Job Performance
Javaid Ali Shah
IAE Aix Marseille University
Graduate School of Management
Chemin de la Quille,Puyricard
13089. Aix-en-Provence.Cedex 2.
Delphine Lacaze
IAE Aix Marseille University
Graduate School of Management
Chemin de la Quille,Puyricard
13089. Aix-en-Provence.Cedex 2.
Ethics in the workplace is a persistent focus of research as it is a pervasive element of
organizational life. Recently, Islamic work ethics has arisen in literature on ethics because of
the emergence of multiple Islam culture countries in the global economy. As ethics provides
values that are the basis for behaviors, this study intends to explore the impact of Islamic work
ethics on job performance, job satisfaction and turnover intention. In addition, as global
business practices may sometimes contradict with morale values issued from religious
convictions, this study explores the impact of cognitive dissonance as a moderator of the
previous relationships. Cognitive dissonance theory is used as a theoretical framework.
Data consists of 252 questionnaires completed by employees of different banks and
universities of Pakistan. Findings confirm that Islamic work ethics affect job satisfaction and
job performance positively, but no effect is found on turnover intention. Furthermore, results
indicate that cognitive dissonance is a significant moderator such that the relationship between
Islamic work ethics and job performance and job satisfaction is stronger when cognitive
dissonance is low rather than high. Finally, managerial implications, limitations and future
directions are discussed.
Keywords: Islamic work ethics, Cognitive dissonance, Job satisfaction, job performance,
Turnover intentions
Moderating role of cognitive dissonance in the relationship between
Islamic work ethics and job satisfaction, turnover intention and job
Ethics refers to what a right and fair conduct or behavior is (Carroll, 1991; Freeman & Gilbert,
1984). Ethics is presented as a system of value principles or practices and a definition of
[what is] right and wrong (Raiborn & Payne, 1990). It concerns judgements involved in moral
decisions (Velasquez, 1999). In daily life, ethics represents a reference for an individual to
decide on a course of action. Without moral standards, individuals’ actions would be random
and aimless; ability to be successful in their endeavors would be reduced (Christian et al.,
If research on ethics based on religious, cultural, and philosophical beliefs is not new, the
study of business ethics is of recent interest (Lewis, 1985). Ethical behavior can bring
significant benefits to organizations (Hamid & Mahdi, 2011): it increases employees’ loyalty
(Al Kazemi, 2007) and reduces labor turnover (Elci et al., 2007; Valentine et al., 2006); it
increases productivity and helps the organization attract employees with similar values.
Reversely, unethical behavior at work damages a firm’s reputation and reduces its
attractiveness to employees, customers and stakeholders (Cacioppe et al., 2008).
As moral standards are influenced by culture, ethical behavior can be understood in an
equivocal way by employees from different cultural backgrounds. This issue is particularly
stringent for internationalizing organizations that hire employees with various viewpoints,
perceptions and religions. As globalization is continuously expanding, it becomes imperative
for organization’s management to understand diversity of all sorts, including religion and
culture. With the rise of Muslim countries' marketplaces, Islamic views of business
organizations are becoming an emerging area of research (Rice, 1999). The Islamic framework
shapes the behavior of one-fourth of the world's total population (1.8 billion). Muslims are in
majority in more than 50 countries; some of these countries being in control of important
energy resources. According to Rogers et al. (1995), the world community faces the risk of
conflicts if it fails to understand the Muslims’ faith, their religious dynamics and mindsets. In
addition, through research on Islamic Work Ethics (IWE), scholars from Muslim societies are
interrogating the original commandments of their prophet relatively to economic activity after
centuries of political events that have placed their countries under strong spiritual influence
(Ali & Al-Owaihan, 2008). To that end, understanding of IWE in a changing world is valuable
(Yousef, 2001) and needs further in-depth study.
Business and related efforts are valued in Islam; economic activity should benefit to the overall
community and therefore has to be conducted according to specified ethics (Ali & Al-
Owaihan, 2008). IWE defines, at an individual level, some fundamental principles that may
guide action in the workplace. How IWE can influence attitudes and behaviors at work is an
important issue for organizations settled in Islamic countries.
In parallel, moral conduct defined at a global level by internationalizing organizations may
conflict with local work ethics. As a result, employees of such organizations may experience
moral conflict which occurs when individuals recognize that their inclination to act ethically
might lead to violation of their reference groups norms (Schwartz et al., 1969). When
employees have to act against their values, they experience high levels of value incongruence
which leads to cognitive dissonance (Kraimer, 1997; Festinger, 1942). Cognitive dissonance
theory (Festinger, 1957) argues that employees experience dissatisfaction when their
behaviors and beliefs/values are incongruent. Cognitive dissonance induces feelings of
alienation, resentment, and dissatisfaction (Argyris, 1957). To avoid those unpleasant feelings,
employees confronted to dissonance may be motivated to change their attitudes and behaviors
(Festinger, 1957).
In Pakistani companies: values of seniors/leaders are not always ethical. This is seen through
behaviors such as bribe, pressurizing employees over their regular duties and not paying them
for that. Those behaviors are quite common in Pakistan. In those cases, managers’ values may
create dissonance for employees.
In addition, there is an issue of employees not following the rules and not fulfilling their
assignments. This means that organizations are unable to promote an ethical and compliant
working environment. In a highly religious country such as Pakistan, employees with strong
work ethics (in particular IWE) may experience dissonance with their working environment
(dissonance with non-compliant colleagues, and dissonance with organizational culture which
does not promote a fair and ethical working environment).
Employees who act at work according to their moral standards may become less efficient due
to cognitive dissonance experienced in the work environment.
As Muslim countries are increasingly involved in global activities, the issue of compatibility
of global moral standards with Islam work standards is arising. Though, no published studies
have explored the association between Islamic work ethics and cognitive dissonance in
organizations. Therefore, this paper intends to make three main theoretical and managerial
contributions to the existing literature on work ethics, in particular IWE, and cognitive
(1) On a theoretical standpoint, we intend to participate to IWE theory by confirming and
demonstrating that IWE can influence important employee outcomes i.e. job performance, job
satisfaction, and turnover intention. Work ethics represent an over-arching theory stating that
attitudes and behaviors at work are strongly molded by ethical beliefs (Weber,1930).
(2) Building on the idea that globalization may induce moral conflicts at an individual level
in countries in which spirituality strongly structures social life, we intend to show the impact
of cognitive dissonance on the relationship between IWE and three important employee
outcomes, i.e. job satisfaction, job performance and turnover intention (figure 1). This second
intended contribution is based on cognitive dissonance theory (Festinger, 1957) stating that
psychological distress created by dissonance induces individuals to change their attitudes and
(3) Lastly, on a managerial standpoint, by surveying employees working in banks and
international universities in a Muslim country, i.e. Pakistan, we intend to disclose some of
dynamics between IWE and economy. By analyzing the links between IWE and work
outcomes, we hope to help managers to shape work environments in organizations involved
with IWE.
Figure 1: Research model
Literature Review
Work Ethics
Aristotle is often considered as the philosopher who initiated the history of business ethics.
Aristotelian ethics incorporates both the corporation and the individual without pretending
that one or the other is an autonomous entity. Corporations are made up of people, and people
are defined by corporations. The Aristotelian approach to business ethics begins with the
twofold idea that it is individual virtue and integrity that count (Solomon, 2004).
In research, definition of Protestant Work Ethics (PWE) has been influential for consecutive
definitions of other work ethics (Hamid & Mahdi, 2011). Most varieties of work ethics such
Islamic Work

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