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PROJECT TOPIC AND MATERIAL ON BUSINESS ETHICS AND RELIGIOSITY
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- Name: Business Ethics and Religiosity
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1.1 Background to the Study
Ethics has been one of the principal issues confronting both large and small businesses for many years. While businesses are responsible for maximizing ong-term value for the shareholders, they are also expected to enforce and adhere to certain ethical standards among others. Recently, the Lagos State Government interest in this area is intensified due to widespread media accounts of outbreaks of ethical failing and environmental pollution at Ladipo market in Mushin Local Government Area of Lagos state where used auto-mobile spare parts of cars and engines are sold. Dishonesty on the market, unfair pricing, tax evasion, unlimited competition, leadership tussles or wrangling and environmental degradation is common practice and other acts of ethical misconducts. Events such as the closure of the market by the state government and other practices at Ladipo market as well as other markets in Nigeria have shaken public confidence in used auto spare parts business. One then tends to wonder what has to be done to assure ethical behaviors in the small business environment such as Ladipo Market.
However, religious belief has been considered as an appropriate grounding for business. In essence, religions make valuable contributions to business ethics. Religions’ values, principles, and practices give sense of responsibility, and guidance to the people of business world. It is to be noted, however, that religions often build the basis for what is considered right and wrong through the values they embody. Besides, religion produces both formal and informal norms and provides people with a freedom/constraint duality by prescribing behaviors within some acceptable boundaries (Ufomadu, 2014). Such norms, values, and beliefs are often codified into a religious code such as the Bible or the Koran. In Christian religions, for instance, the Ten Commandments provide a broad basis of codified ethical rules that believing Christians must follow in order to actualize what they believe in (e.g., salvation). In turn, through daily exposure to norms, customs, laws, scripts, and practices religions impart societal members with values and produce expectation bonds or ‘‘reciprocal expectations of predictability’’ that eventually become taken for granted. Such values often provide guides for what are considered ethical behaviors for most of the world’s religions (Parboteeah, Hoegl and Cullen, 2008 citing Fisher, 2001). Nevertheless, in societies where one or few religions are dominant, the overarching core values of these religions are likely to be mirrored in secular values of society (codified law or non-codified social norms), which regulate everyday activity and ethical behavior.
Moreover, research evidences abound in literature that reported the relationship between religiosity and business ethics although there are mixed conclusions on the relationship (Okafor, 2010). Such mixed results are mostly due to methodological and conceptual limitations. This study is a deviation from earlier research studies on religion and business ethics in that it employs a multidimensional approach which was missing from earlier research studies. Undeniably, Nigerians are religious people. The way people conduct businesses without adherence to their religious faith calls for a re-examination of the role of religious sanctions in checkmating dishonesty on the market, fair pricing and business relations.
Most undeniably, one of the biggest social and economic struggles in Nigeria, as well as in the rest of Africa which is in need of urgent attention and action, is the moral decay taking place, a lack of social responsibility, and the universal politeness among humanity,and evidently business ethics (Ogundele, Hassan, Idris, Adelakan and Iyiegbuniwe. 2010). In Nigeria, in spite of good standard value that religions promote, there is a prevalent shortage of commitment to ethical behaviour in the small business environment, which is alarming as a result of its extent. Since 1997, and even up to today, Nigeria has been dubbed as one of the most fraudulent and corrupt countries in the world. In fact, in 2001, Nigeria was listed second only to Bangladesh, as the most corrupt and fraudulent country in the world – which is a dubious honour indeed (Ogundele et al., 2010). This research study, therefore, seeks to assess the relationship between business ethics and religion, using selected auto- spares parts dealers in Ladipo Mushin business environment where research study seems not to have covered.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
We live in age of innovation, growth of free markets, and world economy. New government authorities, world’s business leaders and up-to-date technologies being players on global scene form business relations and set standards throughout world-wide business communication. More civilizations have started cooperating together creating one globalized communication system. Nevertheless, during creating the one universal system of business communication each civilization follows its unique philosophy of life understanding and usually this understanding of life is being formed by religion. With increasing urgency, market and social forces are also rewriting the roles and responsibilities of business. Modern businesses are expected to be responsible stewards of community resources working towards the growth and success of both their companies and their communities. We are convinced that markets become free or remain free if their players are responsible and respect the basic values of honesty, reliability, fairness and self-discipline being basic of their business ethics. Most people involved in business sector – grading from a small business owner to employee, or even CEO of a multinational – eventually face ethical or moral dilemmas at the workplace. The public faith and confidence in business owners have dropped. This is as a result of different fraudulent practices perpetrated by business owners such as cheating, inflating cost of purchases, tax evasion, un-healthy competition and lack of community services or social responsibility etc. In Nigeria, in spite of good standard value that religions promote, there is a prevalent shortage of commitment to ethical behaviour in the small business environment, which is alarming as a result of its extent. Since 1997, and even up to today, Nigeria has been dubbed as one of the most fraudulent and corrupt countries in the world. As result there is lack of trust in Nigeria business environment regarding to the way business owners deal with their customers or public generally.
1.3 Aim / Objective of the Study
The study generally seeks to assess the relationship between business ethics and religion. Specifically, it is set to:
1. Assess the frequency of religious attendance of business men and women at Ladipo Market Mushin Lagos State.
2. Examine religious influence on business men’s decision making, relationship and social activities.
3. Find out if business men’s life expectations are built on religious faith.
4.Assess the relationship between business ethics and religiosity.
14. Relevant Research Questions
The following questions will guide this study.
1. How often do business men and women at Ladipo Market Mushin attend religious activities?
2. To what extent does religiosity influence business men and women’s decision making, relationship and social activities?
3. Find out if business men and women’s life expectations are built on religious faith.
4.Assess the relationship between business ethics and religiosity.
15. Relevant Hypotheses
The following null hypotheses are tested in this study with empirical data.
Ho 1: Religious attendance does not have any significant influence on moral behavior.
H02: There Will there be no significant influence of religiosity on good decision making, relationship and social activities.
H03: There will be no significant relationship between religious faith and building positive expectation in individual.
H04: There will be no significant relationship between business ethics and religiosity.
1.5 Significance of the Study
This study has implication for promoting business good ethical conduct in Nigeria business environment. It identifies the impact of religious faith in solving unethical business practices and documents the present impact of business ethics on religion, especially the auto- spare parts business environment. This research study will have to benefit businesses, the general public and the country. Through this research study, business individuals will enjoy improved customers’ relationship. It will also improve positive public image, and financial benefits etc. It will have to add to literature in the existing field.
1.6 Scope of the Study
This study seeks to examine the relationship between business ethics and religion. It will cover 250 business men carrying out auto- spare part businesses in Ladipo Mushin, .Lagos because of time and resources. Obtaining relevant materials also poised some constraints.
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
The following terms are operationally defined:
1. Ethic: Ethics is about making choices that may not always feel good or seem like they benefit a person but, are the “right” choices to make. They are choices that are examples of “model citizens” and examples of the golden rules: don’t hurt, don’t steal, don’t lie or one of the most famous, do unto others as you would want them to do to you.
2. Business Ethics: The recognition and implementation of commonly agreed upon standards of conduct that ensures that the business will not impact its stakeholders negatively. In simpler terms, one can see business ethics as what is regarded as right and wrong or good and bad human behaviour in a business setting.
3. Religion: Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values.
4.Religious Practice: The exercise of faith in line with an accepted lay down rules and regulation.
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