Acknowledging religious diversity: Opportunities and challenges

Published on Sep 1, 2012in Business Horizons2.828
· DOI :10.1016/j.bushor.2012.06.001
Bruce D. Gelb69
Estimated H-index: 69
(UH: University of Houston),
Teri Elkins Longacre2
Estimated H-index: 2
(UH: University of Houston)
Because federal law protects an employee's right to religious accommodation, managers cannot ignore the issue of religious diversity. The matter is far broader than simple legal compliance, though. Certainly, managers need to better understand the laws protecting employees’ rights for accommodation and prohibiting disparate treatment, religious harassment, and retaliation. However, they also need to understand the various opportunities and challenges associated with acknowledging religious diversity. Concerning opportunities, research suggests that allowing employees to express aspects of their religion can enhance their work lives and, thus, the value they place on the organization. Furthermore, respect for religious diversity can encourage a useful mindset for communicating with other stakeholders in areas from advertising to the sports interests of salespeople. Since learning more about a range of faiths can lead to greater skills in working with diverse groups, we offer information on Prothero's God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World—and Why Their Differences Matter and on different religions’ practices associated with death-related issues. In conclusion, we provide insight regarding the benefits of acknowledging religious diversity while respecting those who identify with no religion, and we do so without opening the door to proselytizing.
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