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An examination of Muslim religious practices in the workplace and their implications for management
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 22:10 authored by Yousef I. Alnamlah
This study aims to identify key Islamic religious practices performed by Muslim employees that may cause conflict in secular workplaces in Sydney, Australia. In addition, it aims to examine how managers in these workplaces respond to religious diversity among employees. As such, diversity management is discussed from the macro-national, meso-organisational, and micro-individual perspectives, and examined closely at the meso and micro levels. A multi case study design was employed in this study. An online survey of Muslim employees and one-on-one interviews with Muslim employees and non-Muslim managers were the primary data collection methods. The results of this study show that the number of Muslim employees practising their faith in the workplace varied significantly between the Agency and the University (33% and 89% respectively). Approximately 30% of Muslim employees experienced religion-based conflict in the Agency compared to approximately 10% of University employees. The Agency case study findings revealed that the organisation's diversity policy slightly supported managers to accommodate the religious practices of employees. Opinions varied among Muslim employees regarding the effectiveness of the diversity policy in practice. Most Muslim employees sought to integrate into the organisational culture while maintaining a separate Muslim identity. There was no evidence that Muslim women experienced religion-based workplace conflict to a greater extent than Muslim men. The University case study findings showed that management pro-actively attempted to accommodate employees' religious needs and that management and staff had a good awareness of religious diversity in this organisation. Most Muslim employees sought to integrate their Muslim identity into the organisational culture. The findings suggest that workplace diversity management strategies that rely on legislative compliance are largely inadequate in preventing religion-based workplace conflict. Everyday enactments by employees and managers in religiously diverse workplaces that demonstrate acceptance and support are also required. This study recommends that future research should investigate the factors impacting the development and implementation of effective workplace communication strategies relevant to religion and work.