New study sheds light on the topic of religion in family businesses

Prof. Dr. David Bendig, Dr. Lea Püchel and Dr. Fabian Ernst have published their article "Religion in Family Firms: A Socioemotional Wealth Perspective on Top-Level Executives with Perceived Religiosity" in the Journal of Business Ethics (VHB JQ3: B, FT 50).

The influence of religion in Europe is steadily declining, while the Christian faith continues to play a significant social role in the USA. A clear sign of this is that 60% of the US population would not support an atheist presidential candidate. Furthermore, only one senator in the 117th US Congress has openly declared her non-denominationalism.

Despite the essential role of religion in the USA, the faith of executives is rarely recognizable and tends to be taboo in everyday business life. This also applies to family businesses. How religiosity nevertheless finds its way into the management levels of such companies has been insufficiently researched to date.

In their article, the three researchers present empirical evidence, based on comprehensive long-term data, that family businesses with strong family coalitions, as measured by family voting rights, are more likely to employ Christian board members. Furthermore, the researchers show that religious board members tend to appoint religious chief executive officers.

Interestingly, the link between strong family coalitions and religious boards is less pronounced when the family business operates in industries that rely heavily on research and development. The study also suggests practical implications for diversity management.

The full text of the study is available at:  https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s10551-023-05606-7.pdf