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International Journal of Business and Behavioral Sciences

Vol. 2, No.12; December 2012

The Impact of Islamic Work Ethics on Job Satisfaction and Organizational Commitment: A Study of Agriculture Sector of Pakistan

*Muhammad Yousuf Khan Marri 1 , Arshad Mahmood Sadozai 2 , Hafiz Muhammad Fakhar Zaman 3 , & Dr.Muhammad I. Ramay 4 1 Senior Scientific Officer (SSO), Social Sciences Division, Pakistan Agriculture Research Council HQ, Islamabad. 2 Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation Headquarter, Islamabad, Pakistan. 3 Assistant Manager (Projects), AHAN, Ministry of Production, Govt of Pakistan. 4 Dean Faculty of Management Sciences, Al Khair University, AJK, Pakistan. *


This study investigated the effect of Islamic work ethics on job satisfaction and organizational commitment on agriculture sector of Pakistan. Professional Organizations work very hard to establish codes of ethics to help employees in understanding and managing their ethical responsibilities. Islam considers ethics as an essential factor, as it is comprehensive, stable, fair, and historically proved in building great societies. The study used random sampling technique to collect data of 397 respondents from 25 institutions of agriculture sector of Pakistan. The empirical testing indicates that Islamic work ethics has positive impact on both job satisfaction and organizational commitment. Results also indicate strong positive relationship between job satisfaction and organizational commitment. Implications, limitations and suggestions for future research are also discussed.

Keywords: Islamic Work Ethics, Job Satisfaction, Organizational Commitment, Agriculture Sector



In the current globalized business world, the organizations face ethical issues on daily basis which have great concern for better organizational performance, avoiding possible losses and sometime, survival of the organization itself. The unethical corporate practices have affected the public perception of many corporations, which led to critical situation such as low efficiency, revenue losses and even bankruptcy. Many examples of western and Pakistani corporations are worth mentioning (e.g., Enron, WorldCom, Arthur & Andersen, Pakistan steel Mills, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Pakistan Railways, and PTCL etc.) The failure of corporations gained remarkable interest of the research community. According to Ali & Kazemi (2007), scholars began to show an interest in the subject after Max Weber publicized the role of work ethics in accumulating wealth and the rise of capitalism. The Weber's school of thought and his followers (i.e. Furnham, 1982 & 1990; Furnham & Muhuideen, 1984; Furnham & Rajamanickam, 1992), concentrated on protestant work ethics. Cherrington (1995), concluded that the essence of work ethics that derived from Weber’s theory, contains element of hard work, long hours with little or no time for leisure, pride in work and a job well done, an orientation toward achievement as well as acquired wealth, along with frugality, thrift and wise investment. Rakhman (2010), criticized the applicability of Weber model and suggested that it is based on the elements which may be limited in non western societies. This may be in those societies which are dominated by the non Islamic religion. Now the organizations are more concerned in establishing a corporate code of ethics to achieve their objective in effective and desired way. Previous research studies showed that work ethics is closely related with job satisfaction as reveled in research studies conducted by different research scholars (Vitell & Davis, 1990; Viswesvaran &


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Deshpande, 1996; Yousef, 2001; Koh & Boo 2001; Rokhman, 2010). Research has also showed that work ethics is correlated with organizational commitment (Yousef, 2001; Kidron, 1979; Peterson, 2003; Rokhman, 2010). Pakistan is the 6th largest country in the world and 2nd among Muslim countries (UN Population Division, 2011), with an estimated population of 181503265 people (official population clock, 2012), situated on important strategic location. According to (Alston, Norton & Pardey, 1995), every country have certain national goals, Pakistan has three national goals. I) Efficiency: to raise the average level of well-being of the population of a country through the optimal allocation of a nation’s resources. ii) Equity: increasing the well-being of various groups in society. iii) Security:

reducing the variability by reducing income fluctuations and self- sufficiency & self- reliance. According to economic survey of Pakistan (2011-2012), agriculture is a key sector of the economy and accounts for 21 percent of GDP. It generates productive employment opportunities for 45 percent of the country’s labor force and 60 percent of the rural population depends upon this sector for its livelihood. It has a vital role in ensuring food security, generating overall economic growth, reducing poverty, and transforming towards industrialization (economic survey of Pakistan, 2011- 12). Besides other factors, low investment in agricultural research, extension, education infrastructure and irrigation systems as well as the issues related to organization and management are very crucial and needed to be addressed accordingly. Ethics is a major issue in Pakistan and organizations are facing unethical practices which resultantly have negative impact on society at large, the ethical issues are needed to be addressed by all means and investigated for efficiency and effectiveness. Baker (2005), coded the Pakistani banker view “We have lost the distinction between what is legal and what is illegal. No one hates people who get their money through illegal means. Society is not acting as a restrain.” Hence, to achieve the objectives, each organization has to focus on its human resources and ethical issues. Studies conducted so far on Islamic Work Ethics (IWE), were in western society and other Muslim countries with limited sample size and sector. However, in Pakistan, the impact of Islamic work ethics on work outcomes are seldom studied, especially, no evidences found from Agriculture sector of Pakistan. Therefore, there is a gap in the IWE research. Keeping in view the need and importance of the topic, this empirical study is conducted to examine the effect of the IWE on job satisfaction and organizational commitment.

2. Literature Review

Islamic Work Ethics The recent expansion of global business and removal of trade barriers worldwide have further underlined the interest in the topics of ethical behavior and social responsibility (Jones, 1991). Ethics is defined as study of right and wrong, and morality of choices made by individuals. Morf, Schumacher & Vitell (1999), believe: “Ethics is moral principle that individuals inject into their decision making process and that helps temper the last outcome to comfort to the norms of their society”. Mahdavi (2003), defining the functionality of ethical principles, suggests that they have very profound function of making behavior predictable. According to Beekun (1997), ethics is a normative field because it prescribes what one should do or abstain from doing. In 2008, Rizk suggested that IWE is an orientation towards work, and approaches it as a virtue in human’s lives. Islam places the highest emphasis on ethical values as it governs all aspects of life. IWE is originally based on Qur’an and the teachings of the Prophet and the legacy of the four Caliphs of Islam (Ali, 1995; Rizk, 2008).


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Qur’an instructs the faithful involvement and commitment to work and does not allow unethical work behavior like begging, laziness, and waste of time involved with unproductive activity (Ali & Ali.A, 2007; Yousef, 2000). According to Hayaati (2007), ethics in Islam is a reflection of good values whether in behavior, action, thinking or even heart. Most researchers argue that in IWE, work as an obligatory activity and virtue in light of person’s need and necessity to establish equilibrium in one’s individual and social life (Ali, 2001; Ali & Al Owaihan, 2008). So, it can enable human being to be independent and fulfill themselves with self respect. According to Rashid & Ibrahim (2005), Islam considers ethics as an offshoot of Eman (a Muslim belief system), and it emerges from the Islamic worldview of human life. Ethics is also known as akhlak. Akhlak is a set of Islamic moral values which have been prescribed fundamentally in the Qur’an and implemented by Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H) during His life (McGee, 2012). The Holy Qur’an uses several terms to denote the concept of moral or religious goodness and righteousness. Muhammad, Yusof, Amin & Chowdhury (2012), describe the concept of goodness used in Holy Qur’an such as khayr (Goodness), birr (righteousness), qist (equity), ‘adl (equilibrium and justice), haqq (truth and right), ma’ruf (known and approved) and taqwa (piety). Pious actions are described as salihat and impious actions are described as sayyiat. The Holy Qur’an highlights the importance of ethics repeatedly on many occasions. You are the best nation that has been raised up for mankind; You enjoin right conduct, forbid evil and believe in Allah. (Qur’an 3:110). Ethics is considered by these sources to be the main objective of Islam. The Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) was sent to preach a message that is essentially moral. We sent you not but as mercy for all creatures. (Qur’an 21: 107) Another verse in the Qur’an says:

The word of thy Lord doth find its fulfillment in truth and in justice; none can change His words'”. (Qur’an 6:115). On another place in Holy Qur’an, Almighty Allah says:

“‘Those who believe and do good, they are the best of creatures” (Qur’an 29: 7) Even the Holy prophet Mohammad (SAWW) says:

I have been sent for the purpose of perfecting good morals. (Ibn Hambal, No: 8595) The Muslim scholars have also started realizing the importance of IWE in contemporary era, as it became part of Islamic thought which is beneficial to every human kind. Ali & Al Owaihan (2008), categorized the work related sayings of Prophet Mohammad (SAW) including; (a) pursuing legitimate business (b) Wealth must be earned (c) quality of work ( d) wages (e) reliance on self (f) monopoly ( g) bribery (h) deeds and intentions (i) transparency (j) greed, and (k) generosity. The Muslim scholars rejected Weber’s opinion, because faith in Islam includes work as integral component of the human life (Ibnu Maskawyh, 1961; al-Maududi 1967; Al-Ghazali, 1997; Arslan, 2000 & 2001; Yousef, 2001; Hayaati, Ismail & Basir, 2002). The research conducted by Arslan (2000 & 2001), has revealed empirical support to refuse Weber’s thesis, he compared the British and Turkish managers using Protestant Work Ethics (PWE). The study findings were amazing because the Turkish managers scored higher in all characteristics in PWE than British managers. He concluded that: first, the Weber’s criticism of Islamic terms in the economic behavior is not valid, especially in the case of Turkish. Second, religious motives had an important impact on business. Lastly, Turkish Sufi movements had the same role as Calvinism in Northern Europe in the eighteenth century and the Islamic ethics, and heritage had an important role in business ethics. However there are number of similarities between IWE and PWE, both put considerable emphasis on hard work, commitment,


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dedication to work, work creativity, avoidance of unethical method of wealth accumulation, cooperation and competitiveness at the work place.

Theoretical Framework

Figure: Research Framework

Job Satisfaction Islamic Work Ethic Organizationa l

Islamic Work Ethics and Job Satisfaction Literature on job satisfaction is available since early 1930 (Hoppock, 1935; Brayfield & Rothe, 1951). In 1976, Lcoke estimated 3350 research studies, in 1992 it was more then 5000 (Cranny et al), in 1996, figure given by Lcoke almost doubled i.e. more than 6700 (Oshagbemi, 1996). Even today job satisfaction is one of the most frequently used variables in business and behavioral research not only in western world but also among the Pakistani business research community such as Riaz & Ramay (2010); Haroon, Zaman & Rehman (2012); Sadozai, Zaman, Marri & Ramay (2012). Job satisfaction explains the feelings (Arches, 1991; Robbin 2005), attitude (Lcoke, 1976), behavior (Davis, 1985), emotional response (Spector, 1997), effective orientation towards work and its different dimensions, and positive reaction towards pay, supervision, working atmosphere, and job itself (Wanous & Lawler, 1972; French, 1982; Tziner and Vardi; 1984). Rose (2001), suggests that job satisfaction can be divided into two categories: intrinsic and extrinsic satisfaction. The former is concerned with qualitative aspect of job i.e. autonomy, responsibility, skills needed to perform job & supervision etc., whereas the later deals with quantitative aspects such as working hours, safety, tangible rewards and bonuses etc. Job satisfaction may impact on both individual and organizational performance positively and vice versa (Spector, 1997 and Silverthorne, 2005). The higher job satisfaction will result in decreased turnover intension (Boles, Johnston & Hair, 1997). In 2000, Yousef suggested that Understanding the relationship between work ethics and job satisfaction is vital in determining involvement and strategies for explanatory factors that cause reduction in satisfaction level toward the work condition. The previous studies on Work ethics revealed close relationship with job satisfaction (Vitell and Davis, 1990; Viswesvaran and Deshpande, 1996; Yousef, 2001; Koh and Boo, 2001; Rokhman 2010). On the basis of above discussion following hypothesis is drawn:

H1. Islamic Work Ethics will increase job satisfaction.

Islamic Work Ethics and Organizational Commitment

The relationship between work ethics and organization commitment has received considerable attention in the commitment literature (Yousef, 2001). Such interest might be referring to the belief


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Vol. 2, No.12; December 2012

that work ethics facilitate employees’ attitude towards hard work and their organization too. Commitment, like satisfaction, has also been defined in many ways, the gurus of organizational commitment has defined it in various ways. Allen & Mayer (1990), defined organizational commitment as a psychological state that attaches an employee to an organization. Mahdavi (2001), describes organizational commitment as the attachment that is formed between employees and their employing organization. Mowday, Porter, & Steers (1982), defined it as the relative strength of an individual’s identification with and involvement in a particular organization. To achieve organizational commitment, employers need to help their employees’ value involvement in the organization. The more the employees’ value being part of the organization, the more likely they are to stay with the organization (Boon & Arumugam, 2006). According to Werkmeister (1967), commitment is a manifestation of the individual’s own self, and reflects value standards that are basic to the individual’s existence as a person. Kidron (1979), further observes that work values show higher correlations with moral commitment to the organization than calculative commitment (Elizur & Koslowsky, 2001). Putti, Aryee, & Ling (1989), analyzed the relationship between work values and organizational commitment based on a sample of workers in Singapore. They found that intrinsic work values relate more closely to organizational commitment than extrinsic work values. Research has also showed that work ethics also related with organizational commitment (Kidron, 1979; Yousef, 2001; Peterson, 2003; Rokhman, 2010). Based on the above observations, it leads to the following hypothesis:

H2. Islamic Work Ethics will increase organizational commitment. Job Satisfaction & Organizational Commitment Job satisfaction and organizational commitment extensively researched by both academicians, practitioners of management and other social sciences disciplines due to their significant impact on organizational functioning and individual behaviors as revealed in the studies conducted by (Angle & Perry, 1981; Bateman & Strasser, 1984; Dewar & Werbel, 1979; Farkas & Tetrick, 1989; Johnston & Shook, 1987; Katz, 1978; Mobley, 1977; Mowday, Porter & Steers,1982; Wiener, 1982; Williams and Hazer, 1986). The importance of these two vital concepts can not be over sighted as they are primary determinants of employee turnover, performance, and productivity (Glisson and Durick,


Most of these studies conducted in different professions found a positive significant relationship between them. (Kirsch, 1990; Almeer 1995; Knoop, 1995; Smith, 1996; Al-Aameri, 2000; Riaz & Ramay, 2010). Feinstein & Vondrasek (2001), analyzed the effects of job satisfaction on organizational commitment among the restaurant employees and the findings proved that satisfaction level would predict their commitment to the organization. Gaertner (1999) also analyzed the determinants (pay workload, distributive justice, promotional chances, supervisory support, etc.) of JS and OC. However the study of Curry Wakefield, Price & Mueller (1986), did not find relationship between JS and OC. Greenberg & Baron (1990), pointed out that JS and OC do not come out to be direct causes of one another as often been assumed. In Pakistani context the study conducted by Chughtai & Zafar (2006) , to measure the relationship of personal characteristics, facets of jobs satisfaction and organizational justice with organizational commitment in Pakistani university teachers, revealed that the personal characteristics, facets of job satisfaction and two dimensions of organizational justice as a group were significantly related to organizational commitment of the university teachers. The study conducted by Bashir & Ramay (2008), to examine the relationship between career opportunities, work life policies, job characteristics and organizational commitment of information technology (IT) professionals in


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Pakistan. The results show that career opportunities and work life policies in IT professionals are significantly correlated with organizational commitment, while job characteristics do not determine their organizational commitment. Based on the literature review, the following hypothesis is derived:

H3. There is a relationship between job satisfaction and organizational commitment



Sample and data collection Data was randomly collected from 25 public and private research, extension and educational organizations/ institutions & establishments and its attached departments working at federal as well as the provincial level in addition to Ministry of National Food Security and Research, responsible organizations for overall assurance of food security in the country in an attempt to achieve a form of guided random sampling of agriculture sector of Pakistan. The authors distributed 400 questionnaires among full time employees over a Two-month period using both drop-off and pick-up methods as well as self administered methods. After three reminders through callbacks, 329 questionnaires were retrieved. Of the retrieved questionnaires, 317 questionnaires were usable. On a positive note, a high response rate of 82.25% was achieved. Measurement To measure the Islamic Work Ethics, 17 items (short version instrument developed by Ali (1992), were used with little modifications. Examples for these items include: I think Laziness is a character which some people posses, I believe dedication to work is a virtue, and Justice and generosity in the work place are necessary conditions for society’s welfare, I think Human relations should be emphasized and encouraged etc. This sort of version already applied in several Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia, UEA, Kuwait, Indonesia and Pakistan, the results were relatively high. A five- point scale is employed ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). The Cronbach’s alpha of this scale was 0.79. Job Satisfaction was measured by the 5 item scale used by Dubinsky and Harley (1986). Characteristic examples of job satisfaction scale are Generally speaking, I am very satisfied with my job” and “This organization has invested a lot on the welfare of the employees”. This scale had a coefficient alpha of 0.81. Organizational Commitment was measured with a Five -item version of the organizational commitment questionnaire (OCQ) adapted from Bozeman & Perrewe, (2001), later used by Luna- Arocas & Camp (2008), Rokhman (2010). This scale had a coefficient alpha of 0.72. Analysis We performed stepwise analysis of the data using SPSS 17.0 in five steps, in the following manner:

As a FIRST step in the analysis of results, reliability of the scales was confirmed by calculating cronach’s alpha for each scale used in the study. Cronbach's Alpha of each dimensions are given in the measurement section as well as in table II. In the SECOND step, the demographic characteristics of the respondents were measured and the details are given below in results section of the study, also shown in table I. In the THIRD step, we give an overview of descriptive values of all analysis variables such as frequencies and percentages for main characteristics of the sample (see table II). In the FOURTH step, we show Pearson product moment correlation coefficients (PMCC) for correlations between all variables to demonstrate relationships (as depicted in table II). In the FINAL step, regression analysis was performed to examine the effect of IWE on "job satisfaction and organizational commitment" consecutively.


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Demographic characteristics of respondents. Among total number of 317 respondents, included in the Survey, 239 were male (75%) and 78 were females (25%) respondents. 26% respondents were of between the age of 19-28 years Majority of the respondents was between the age of group of 30-39 years showing 34% of whole sample. Of the subjects, 73% of respondents were having master level of education while 16% of MS/ PhD. It was attempted to collect responses from both scientific (70%) and administrative (30%) cadre among them (88%) were working on managerial positions and 22% on non- managerial positions. Subsequently, 40% respondents had 6-15 years of experience while 33% were those who spent 16 or more years in the service. The demographic summary of the respondents is presented in Table 1.

Table I: Demographics

















M Phil/PhD














19 -29Years



30-39 Years



40-49 Years



50 & Above





1 5 years



6 15 years



16 & above




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Descriptives and Correlation Results. Descriptive results reveal varying results of independent variable (Islamic work ethics) and dependent variables (job satisfaction and organizational commitment). Likert scale helped to explain the intensity of Islamic work ethics towards job satisfaction and commitment of employees. The mean scores and standard deviation results show that generally respondents agree with the statements provided in the instruments. As concluded in previous researches, results of this study show that overall means of Islamic work ethics is relatively high, which indicates that employees in the agriculture sector institutions under study adhere to IWE (3.92). The overall mean of the job satisfaction (3.61), means that employees in the investigated organizations/institutions are not fully satisfied with their job; however they are more inclined toward being satisfied. Furthermore, the overall mean of organizational commitment is reasonably high (3.72), which indicate that the employees are committed to their organization. In the second step of the analysis, we want to give an overview of the Pearson product moment correlation (PMCC) of all variables under investigation to determine the strength of their relationship. It is also revealed that the relationship between IWE and job satisfaction is positive (0.39) and highly significant (p <0.01) it shows that if the IWE, is followed then the employees are usually satisfied with their jobs. Likewise, IWE is also significantly related to organizational commitment (0.49) and highly significant (p <0.01), which means that if employees follow IWE, then the commitment of employees towards the organization gets high. Similarly, job satisfaction is significantly related with organizational commitment (0.60) and highly significant (p <0.01) which reveals that if employees are committed with the organization, then they will be highly satisfied with their jobs. Such satisfaction also provides employees a sense of attachment with their respective organization. A happy or satisfied worker is willing to spend rest of his/ her life with the organization.

Table II: Mean, Standard Deviation, Cronbach's Alpha & Correlation











No of Items




























**. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).

Regression Results. The Regression equation is formed to test the interdependence of two variables. With the help of Independent variable IWE, dependent variables (job satisfaction and organizational commitment) following two equations were formed. Table 3 presents the regression outcomes of equation/model 1, which shows that the dependence of IWE (independent variables) on job satisfaction (dependent variable). To test the first hypothesis, the study regress IWE on job satisfaction. The relationship between IWE and job satisfaction is highly significant, as indicated in the table III (R2 = 0.15, p< 0.05). The null hypothesis is therefore rejected. IWE scores explained about 15% of variance (F = 56.38, p < 0.05) in job satisfaction. Regression analysis also shows that if


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we increase 1 unit of IWE it will increase 0.69 units of JS in employees of agriculture sector organizations. The second hypothesis was also supported, as indicated by R2 = 0.24, p < 0.05, therefore null hypothesis is rejected. IWE scores explained about 24% of variance (F = 101.67 p < 0.05) in organizational commitment. Regression analysis indicates if we increase 1 unit of IWE it will increase 0.74 units of OC in employees of agriculture sector organizations. Table III: Regression Analysis (IWE & JS) & (IWE &OC)



R Square







R Square



1 .39









2 .49








a. Dependent Variable: Job Satisfaction

b. Dependent Variable: Organizational Commitment

5. Discussion

The employees of the agriculture sector of Pakistan scored high on the IWE scale, as indicated by the mean, this demonstrates that employees of the sector are highly supportive with the Islamic ethics in their work place. The aggregate mean of job satisfaction is slightly below commitment, which means that the respondents were not entirely satisfied with their current jobs. The high score on organizational commitment indicates that employees in the institutions investigated have high commitment to their current organization. For the first and second hypothesis testing, the results indicate that the relationships between the IWE to both job satisfaction and organizational commitment are positive and significant. These results support the prior researches of (Yousuf, 2001; Koh and Boo, 2001; Viswesvaran and Deshpande, 1996; Vitell and Davis, 1990; Rokhman, 2010; Mohamed et al, 2010), which demonstrated the positive effect of work ethics on job satisfaction and organizational commitment. The outcomes suggest that those who strongly support IWE would be more satisfied with their job and committed to their organization.

6. Implication and Recommendations:

Practical implication Empirical evidences support the assumption that to achieve high level of job satisfaction and commitment, organizations in agriculture sector should take into account following key factors;

I. Institutions/ organizations should continue emphasizing on the importance of ethics during recruitment, orientations and periodical training programs. Employers should focus on employees’ life-long learning, curriculum development for professionals and inculcating appropriate individual work values in not only performing their organizational duties but also in the societal responsibilities.

II. Justice and generosity in the work place are necessary conditions for employees as well as society’s welfare; therefore the justice may be enforced at all levels in accordance with the duties and responsibilities assigned to each employee. Benefits from the organizations to employees may also be equitable with other employees working in the same position.

III. Work is not an end in itself but a means to foster personal growth and social relations. There is a strong need to establish relations network among the employees at lower, peer and top level that could enhance the cooperation culture among the employees and stakeholders. Human relations may be emphasized and encouraged to provide opportunity to solve the


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problems mutually.

IV. In agriculture sector institutions, employees have shown their strong support with idea of cooperative and team oriented environment, therefore these institutions may focus on flat hierarchical structure and moderate span of control.

V. Hard work of employees may be rewarded reciprocally by the organization to provide them equal chance of getting ahead in life and ensure equal opportunities for personal growth and carrier development.

VI. Intention may be viewed in measuring performance and making accounting rather than its results. In nutshell, if employees are satisfied, they voluntary expend extra effort to achieve the short term and long term goals of the organization and spend rest of their career in the same organization.

VII. Management should consider continuous training programs, communication and consistent behavior that adhere to Islamic work ethics.

7. Limitations of the Study

The current study has methodological limitations that may affect the generalisability of results. Our cross-sectional design allowed identification of several factors associated with job satisfaction and organizational commitment, although causal inferences can hardly be made. Since job satisfaction and organizational commitment as the dependent variables, and predictor variable (IWE), were assessed by limited sample size and sector. Whether the results are applicable to organizations /institutions of other sectors is difficult to assess and needed to be investigated in future studies. The Islamic Work Ethics may also be examined with other organizational behaviors such as work stress, organizational performance, organizational culture, organizational citizenship behaviors, turnover intention and locus of control etc.


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