It may not be legal to base hiring decisions on religion, but one team of researchers at Baylor University – a private Baptist institution in Texas – thinks hiring church-goers pays off.
The team surveyed a random sample of more than a thousand full-time workers to discover whether religious affiliations improve job satisfaction, job commitment or entrepreneurship.
"We already knew that about 60 percent of American adults are affiliated with congregations, but we wanted to delve into whether that carries over from weekend worship services to the work day," said Jerry Z. Park, Ph.D., associate professor of sociology in Baylor's College of Arts & Sciences. "It turns out it does make some difference in their attitudes at work. That means it has a potential 'payoff' not only for employers, but for employees themselves."
However, religion improved job performance only when the workers indicated that their church stressed demonstration of their faith in their workplace. By that, the researchers did not mean proselytism, but rather an emphasis on “sacrificial love”, the “eternal significance” of work, and whether they believed that God wanted them to develop their abilities at work. Those who frequently attended such congregations also reported above-average levels of job satisfaction and commitment to their employer.
On the other hand, workers’ sense of entrepreneurship was not improved by church attendance.
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