The separation of church and work: an initial exploration of work-religion conflict and its behavioral consequences




Langford, Christopher Robert

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Despite the fact that the majority of Americans claim to be religious, organizational research has largely ignored the direct examination of how individuals cope with potential conflict between their work roles and religious roles. Work-religion conflict is conceptualized in this dissertation as the occurrence of incongruence between these two roles. Work-family conflict and workplace accommodation research was reviewed in generating a conceptual model of work-religion conflict and its behavioral workplace consequences. Hypotheses were generated and empirically examined using two-way analysis of variance. The dissertation examined the effects of (a) time-based work-religion conflict, (b) behavior-based work-religion conflict, and (c) strain-based work-religion conflict on individuals' (d) help-seeking intentions, (e) job crafting intentions, and (f) turnover intentions. The moderating influence of religious commitment was also examined. Twelve of eighteen hypotheses were supported. The results suggest individuals' coping behaviors depend upon the type of work-religion conflict experienced, are often influenced by religious commitment, and are both similar and dissimilar to reported behaviors in response to other types of work-nonwork interrole conflict (e.g., work-family conflict). Implications for theory, research, and practice are discussed.


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religion, role conflict, role expectations, work-religion conflict