Work ethic, religion and moral energy: the case of Turkish SME owner-managers

Selcuk Uygur, Laura J. Spence, Ruth Simpson, Fahri Karakas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
27 Downloads (Pure)


This paper explores the hitherto neglected issue of how religious beliefs influence the work ethic of Turkish SME (Small and Medium-sized Enterprise) owner-managers. We draw on Weber’s notion of Lebensführung, which captures the manner of living one’s life, as a theoretical and explanatory lens. The research is conducted among religious Muslim entrepreneurs, which showed strong diaspora characteristics in its early emergence in 1990s. Based on qualitative research on Turkish entrepreneurs (SME owner-managers), we find that a new Islamic discourse –appearing as more liberal and pro market oriented- together with the Muslim work ethic, drive entrepreneurialism in Turkey. We demonstrate that the contemporary Muslim work ethic comprises a ‘moral energy’, which manifests itself variously as rational/secular, shared/communicated, and action-oriented driver for Muslim entrepreneurs, helping to sustain their entrepreneurial activities in the Turkish context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1212-1235
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number8
Early online date26 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Work ethic
  • Moral energy
  • Islam
  • Turkey

Cite this