What Does Heaven and Hell Have To Do With Work?

Some days it might seem like we have the job from Hell. Other days, our job might seem Heaven-sent. But does believing in Heaven and/or Hell actually have an effect on work? Mitchell Neubert, associate professor of Management and Entrepreneurship and Chavanne Chair of Christian Ethics in Business, says beliefs about Heaven and Hell can predict work outcomes such as job satisfaction and commitment to the organization.

Neubert was part of a research team involved with Wave III of the Baylor Religion Survey, one of the most extensive surveys ever conducted on the religious practices, attitudes, beliefs and values of the American public. A total of 1,714 adults chosen randomly from across the country answered more than 300 items in the survey, designed by Baylor University scholars and conducted by The Gallup Organization in the fall of 2010.

Neubert, along with Baylor associate professors of Sociology Jerry Park and Kevin Dougherty, examined the relationship between entrepreneurship/work and religion. The research was funded by Baylor University with support from the John M. Templeton Foundation. Neubert also serves as lead investigator on a National Science Foundation grant titled the National Study of Religion and Entrepreneurial Behavior that builds on results from the Baylor Religion Survey.

Some of the research findings included:

*Nearly two-thirds of American adults (62%) absolutely believe Heaven exists, whereas about half (51%) express the same certainty about the existence of Hell.

*Those who absolutely believe in Heaven and/or Hell are clearly satisfied with their jobs. In organizational research, satisfaction with one’s job has been linked to job performance and low levels of turnover. As such, the finding that beliefs about Heaven and Hell are linked to job satisfaction offers value to organizations.

*Beliefs in Heaven and Hell are associated with commitment to the organization. Persons who absolutely believe in Heaven and Hell overwhelmingly agree that the organization for which they work has a great deal of personal meaning to them. Similar to job satisfaction, organizational research has established links between organizational commitment and outcomes such as organizational citizenship behavior, individual performance and turnover.

*The majority of people who absolutely believe in Heaven and Hell are always or often motivated by their faith to pursue excellence, which certainly would please most organization owners. This relationship is strongest among those who absolutely believe in Hell.


View complete findings of Wave III

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Baylor Business Review, Fall 2012

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