Title

Religion, Religiosity, and Leadership Practices: An Examination in the Lebanese Context

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2015

Publisher

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to identify and measure the relationship between a leader’s religion and religiosity (independent variables) and leadership practices (dependent variables) in the context of non-western Christian and Muslim organizational leaders. Design/methodology/approach – The quantitative correlation study involved 384 organizational leaders (150 Christians and 234 Muslims) working in various industries in Lebanon. Organizational leaders supplied their religious affiliation and self-rated their religiosity and leadership practices. Findings – Results were somewhat mixed, supporting some prior studies and contradicting others. Differences in the hypothesized relationship between the religious affiliation, religiosity, and leadership practices of organizational leaders were noted. The findings revealed that religion and religiosity both have an influence on the behavior and practices of organizational leaders; although the former is much more significant than the latter. Research limitations/implications – Organizational leaders reported their leadership practices and religiosity, hence self-rating bias. The data collection method allowed participant self-selection, thus potentially introducing self-selection bias in this study. Cultural response bias may be another possible limitation to this study. There were no controls for possible confounding factors (such as organizational, psychological, personal, or environmental variables) that may have influenced respondents. Practical implications – This study confirmed that leadership practices were significantly complicated by the respondents’ religious affiliation and religiosity. Scholars and practitioners may use the results as guidelines to further understand leadership dynamics generally, and more particularly in a non-western context. Leaders may gain practical insight about how to meet organizational challenges in a religiously diverse workplace. Originality/value – This study sheds new light on how leadership practices may be influenced by people’s religious affiliation and religiosity; and especially so in the Middle East where a paucity of empirical research on workplace issues exists.