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The International Journal o f Accounting and Business Society 93

Religion, Work Ethics, and Business Attitude:


A Case Study on the Meaning of Business Behavior of
Madurese Fruits Traders in Malang

Muhammad Djakfar

L e c tu re r at th e F aculty o f E conom ics,


the S tate Islam ic U n iv ersity (U IN ) M alan g

A bstract

Islam is a so u rce o f m o tiv atio n to build w o rk ethics and d irec t th e b eh av io r o f


b u sin essm en . M a d u re se p eo p le are reco g n ized as one o f th e w an d e rin g ethnics.
T h ey are u su a lly g o o d ad h eren ce o f Islam and tough trad ers. H o w ev er, th ey are
o ften reg ard ed as p eo p le w ho do not really care o f ethical v alu e s. B ased on such
ch aracteristics, th is d issertatio n ex am in es th e ir business b eh av io r a c co rd in g to the
eth ical n o rm s in M alan g . T h ere are th ree aspects th at w ill be ex p lo red in this
d issertatio n : (1) th e m ean in g o f bu sin ess ethics, (2) ho w th e tra d e rs c o n stru c t the
eth ics, and (3) h o w th e trad ers im p lem en t ethics in business activ ities. Q u alitativ e
ap p ro ach is u sed to u n d erstan d th is p h en o m en o n . In-depth in terv iew , particip ato ry
ob serv atio n , and d o cu m en tatio n w ere em ployed to obtain th e data. T h e d a ta w ere
an aly zed and in terp reted by u sin g social co n stru ct analysis. T h e study sh o w s that
pancengan (h o n e st) trad ers argued th at ethical values should be m ain tain ed and
resp ected but d o es not need to be involved in the area o f b u siness. For th o se w ho
do not w a n t to be in volved in pancengan, how ever, eth ic s w as an im portant
re q u ire m e n t in o rd e r to o b tain the w ealth blessed by G od. T h u s, eth ics and business
are insep arab le. T h e m ean in g o f ethics w as produced from d ia lec tic al co n d itio n s
betw een th e ir c u ltu re and Islam ic relig io us values. H ow to im p lem en t? It can be
u n d ersto o d th a t th e relatio n sh ip am ong trad e rs w as built b ecau se o f th e ir feelings
o f being to g eth e r, caring, and less co m p etitiv e. This is induced by the fact that
som e o f th em w ere relativ es, or co m in g from the sam e p lace. T h e trad ers with
pancengan p rin cip le ten d to be involved in m anipulation. F o r non -pancengan
trad ers, h o w ev er, th ey attem p t to m inim ize dishonesty. B oth o f the g ro u p s have
po sitiv e c o n cern to w ard th e ir enviro n m en t; this attitude seem s to be influenced by
relig io u s v alu es and the g o v ern m en t regulation.

K e y w o rd s : religion, w ork ethics, business attitude, case study, the m ean in g o f


b u siness ethics, traders, M adurese ethnics in M a la n g

Vol. 16, No. 2 De c emb e r 2007


© Centre for Indonesian Accounting and M a n ag e me n t Research
Postgraduate Program, Brawi jaya University
94 A C risis or C ritical D evelopm ent

I. Introduction

1.1. B ack g ro u n d o f Study


T h eo lo g ically and so cio lo g ically , religion can be co n sid ered as an
in stru m en t to u n d erstan d th e w o rld (B ellah, 1991:146). It can be said th at any
relig io n , esp ecially Islam , has no ob jectio n against this prem ise. T h is is because
relig io n p o ssesses an o m n ip resen t ch aracteristic. T his is to say th a t religion through
its sym b o ls and valu es co n trib u tes to form the social stru ctu re, cu ltu re, econom y,
politics, and p u b lic p o licy (E ffen d i, 2001:7). W ith th ese c h ara cteristic s, religion is
ex p ected to give g u id an ce to all asp ects o f hum an life: so c io -c u ltu re , econom ics,
and p o litics (E ffendi, 2001:7).
M oreo v er, th ere is an affin ity b etw een religion as a sou rce o f guid an ce and
th e eco n o m y , in w h ich th e eco n o m ic co n d itio n o f a c o u n try is b e liev ed to grow
q u ick ly if it is acco m p an ied w ith g ood w ork ethics. T h e in terre latio n sh ip betw een
relig io n , w o rk eth ics, and eco n o m y w as d iscussed by M a x W e b er th ro u g h w hich he
p ro d u ced his m o n u m en tal w o rk The Protestant Ethics and the Spirit Capitalism.
Insp ired by W e b ste r’s th eo ry , th e research er is in terested in p ro p o sin g the
fo llo w in g research topic: Religion, Work Ethics, and Business Attitude, fo cusing
on th e b u sin ess eth ics am o n g M ad u rese eth nic in M alang.
M ad u rese is k now n as a co m m u n ity w ith its stro n g M o slem identity, as can
be seen from th e ir o b ed ien ce to perfo rm Islam ic teach in g s w ith an ex p ectatio n to
ach iev e th e best destin y o f life (S y am su d d in , 2001:1). Islam ic tea ch in g s have been
so internalized w ith in th e M ad u rese p eo p le that Islam b e co m e s the p aram eter o f
th e ir so cio -cu ltu ral life. T h ey w ill n o t hesitate to die fo r th eir relig io n , as they
b eliev e th at they w ill die as syuhada and they deserve life in heaven afterw ard
(U sm an , 1979:374).
M a d ure se is often considered as having a negative stigma: coarse ethnic
g roup that tends to fight ( carok ) (W iyata, 2002:89; de Jonge, 1989; Subaharianto
dkk., 2004). Such stereotype might be true for a n u m b e r o f M adu rese, but not to be
generalized for others. In fact, there are m any M adu rese people w h o are rather
na'i've, hum ble, polite, and friendly, not to m ention other good and wise
characteristics.
T h e topic o f this dissertation is again inspired by the image and reality
describ in g that M adurese is one o f religious and hard w o rk in g ethnic groups in
Indonesia. M ost o f them are involved in informal sector business. T h e problem is
w hy they are considered ‘nau g h ty ’ in doing their business activities. Based on this
ph eno m en on , the writer is curious to better understand the attitude o f M adurese
fruits traders in Malang.

Vol. 16, No. 2 De c em be r 2007


© Centre lor Indonesian Account ing and M a na g em e nt Research
Postgraduate Program, Br awijaya University
The International Journal o f Accounting and Business Society 95

I.2 R esearch F o cu s an d O b jectiv es

B ased on th e b ac k g ro u n d m e n tio n e d above, th is research c o n c en tra ted on


th e fo llo w in g fo cu ses. T h e first is, as an ethnic labeled w ith h ig h ly w o rk ethics,
how do M ad u rese fru its tra d e rs in terp ret th e ir bu sin ess eth ics? Secondly, how do
M ad u rese fru its tra d e rs c o n stru c t th e ir b u sin ess ethics: by d eriv in g from relig io u s
teach in g s, social c o n d itio n s su rro u n d in g th em , both, or perh ap s som e o th e r factors?
T h e third fo cu s is h o w d o M ad u rese fru its trad ers im p lem en t th e ir c o n stru c ts on
bu sin ess eth ics in re la tio n to o th e r tra d e rs? A lso, how do th ey tre a t th e ir cu sto m ers?
W h at is th e ir attitu d e to w a rd th e ir en v iro n m en t? (A zw ar, 2000:5).

B ased on th e re se a rc h q u estio n s fo rm ulated above, th e o b jectiv e s o f this


research can be stated as fo llo w s. First is, to un d erstan d th e b u sin ess eth ics o f
M ad u rese fru its tra d e rs in M alan g ; second, to un d erstan d the w a y M a d u rese fruits
trad ers co n stru cts th e ir b u sin e ss ethics, and third, to und erstan d th e w ay M adurese
fru its tra d e rs im p lem en t th e co n stru c ts o f th eir bu sin ess eth ics in th e hard -w o rk -
d em a n d in g b u sin ess co m p etitio n .

II. R eview o f Related Literature

2.1 W ork ethics: G en eral d e sc rip tio n and conceptual deb ates
E n tre p re n e u rsh ip s am o n g M o slem people o ften receiv es a negative
c o n n o tatio n , it is n o t m o d ern . T h is statem en t is pro b ab ly fair esp ecially if w e look
at an eco n o m ical c o n d itio n in p laces w here th e m ajority o f th e inh ab itan ts is
M oslem . A c le a r e x am p le is sh o w n in A frica and A sia in w h ich th e econom ical
stab ility a m o n g st M o slem co m m u n ity is relativ ely low . T h e in h ab itan ts are not able
to m anage th e ab u n d a n c e o f n atural reso urces av ailab le. T his situation indicates
th at the q u ality o f c ap italism in th at reg io n is low (E ffen d i, 20 0 1 :1 9 5 ). T h is is also
stren g th en ed by an arg u m e n t claim in g th at Ind o n esia in w hich the m ajority o f its
p o p u latio n is M oslem is now lack in g w o rk ethics. A result o f d iscu ssio n s w ritten in
R eader’s Digest m ag azin e su m m arized th at it is hard for Ind o n esia to be a
dev elo p ed co u n try b e c a u se In d o n esia has lousy w ork eth ic s and serious corruption
(K raar, 1998:44).
M ax W eber, a G erm an so cio lo g ist and p olitical ec o n o m ist argues that
Islam d o es n o t have a c o n c e p t o f th eo lo g ical affinity c o n c e n tratin g on capitalism
d ev e lo p m e n t (W eb er, 2 0 0 3 ). A lth o u g h Islam is b elieved as the religion o f
m o n o th eistic, Islam is c o n sid e re d as the religion o f ‘tro o p ’ class w hich tends to
focus on feu d alistic interest, and o rien tin g on social prestige. It is also a
p atrim o n ial b u reau cracy , and does not have a spiritual prereq u isite for capitalism
grow th (A b d u lla h , 1979:19-20). W eb er claim s that Islam has a concept o f a n ti­
in tellig en ce and refu ses k n o w led g e, esp ecially science and tech n o lo g y (A bdullah.
1979:21-22; R ach m at, 1999:23 1 -2 3 8 ). ~
T h e reason w h y W e b e r has such strong arg u m en ts is because the Islam ic
cu ltu res on e co n o m ical activ ities do not support the capitalism grow th. T his
Vol. 16, No. 2 D ec em b e r 2007
© Ce nt r e for Indonesian Acc ou nt i ng and Ma n ag e me n t Research
Postgraduate Program, Brawijaya University
96 A C risis o r C ritical D evelopm ent

p ro p o sitio n is e n d o rse d by th e p ractices o f Sufism w hich in general seem s to ignore


earthly rich es. F ro m eco n o m ical po in t o f view , M o sle m s’ lifestyle is w asteful,
careless in all a s p e c ts o f th e ir eco n o m ical activities. In short, th ey lack m otivation
and ascetics to in crease th e ir cap italism grow th (E ffendy, 2 0 0 1 :1 9 7 ; T urner,
2 0 0 3 :2 7 0 :2 7 1 ). W e b e r c o n clu d es th at religions such as Islam , C ath o lic, and
B uddhism are th o s e w h ich do n o t support th e em erg en ce o f early cap italism
b ecau se th ese re lig io n s tau g h t ascetic concepts and th e ir follo w ers becom e a
m em b er o f a c lo iste re d co m m u n ity . T h ese are ‘tro o p ’ relig io n s, not capitalism ones
(A b d u llah , 2 0 0 0 :x ).

S o b ary d isp ro v e s w h at has been conclu d ed by W eber. S obary, w ho


u n d erto o k his re se a rc h in W est Jav a, argued th at a p o larizatio n a lw ay s occu rs in a
society, c la ss ify in g v illag ers and u rban (S obary, 1995:75).

M o sle m s o r Islam ic sch o lars w ill n ot easily acce p t W e b e r’s statem ents.
B ryan S T u rn e r c ritic iz e d W e b e r’s statem en t by claim in g th a t Islam is n o t a ‘tro o p ’
relig io n o r a d e s e rt relig io n w h ich like fighting, but a religion w ith high w ork
eth ics th at te a c h e s ho w to live p ro sp ero u sly. T u rn er fu rth er stated th at W eb er w as
h o p elessly in c o rre c t in p urely factual term s (T urner, 1974:2-3). M o n tg o m ery even
argued th at Islam a t early tim e is th e tra d e rs’ relig io n , not a d e sert religion (W att
1972:18). A s tro n g sense o f m o n o th eism o f Islam is related to m a n ’s ex p erien ce o f
his ow n in sig n ific a n c e in th e m id d le o f a desert (E rnest R enan). T he first people
w ho em b raced in Islam w ere n o t B edouin, but people from th e trad e centre in
M akkah and fro m the fertilized ag ricultural land in M ed in a (W att, 1972:19;
A fzalu rah m an , 1997). A n u m b er o f A rabic people w rote th e ir jo u rn e y to C hina, the
o ld est w ritin g w a s w ritten by Sulaim an trad er in 850 A D . T h is in dicates that the
relatio n sh ip b e tw e e n th o se tw o co u n tries had been estab lish ed ev e r since. T his is
su p p o rted by th e fact th at th ere w ere C hinese handcrafts found d u rin g c a lip h ’s
tim e. T h ere w as a lso an ex ch an g e o f trading am b assad o r betw een the first caliph
and C h in ese g o v e rn m e n t (L e B on, 200 1 :73). Sm ith (2 0 0 2 :7 9 ) argued th at al-Q uran
p erm its p eo p le to w o rk hard, and w o rk in g com petition should be fair.

R o b ert N . B ellah, w ho prev io u sly follow ed W e b e r’s view s co n cern in g


Islam ic tra d in g e th ic s, ev en tu ally had a d ifferent opinion from W e b e r’s. Bellah
found new e v id e n c e s from th e Jap an ese com m unity w ho em braced to T okugaw a
and B uddhism Z e n , in w hich they w orked very effectively. E ven, the Japanese
g o v ern m en t su p p o rts such concept:

“ how p e o p le have to w ork hard, are responsible for th eir


w ork, d o not w aste tim e and other rules set out by the
g o v e rn m e n t and ad d ressed to the group o f gonin gonii (the

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© Centre for Indonesian Account ing and M a n a g em e nt Research
Postgraduate Program, Brawijava University
The International Journal o f Accounting and Business Society 97

group o f fiv e fam ily). T h e ru les w ere periodically ex p re sse d to


th e p eo p le” (B ellah , 1992:2-3).

B ased on the ab o v e d iscu ssio n , it can be co ncluded th a t high w ork eth ics or
capitalism m o tiv atio n is n o t d o m in ated by only P ro testan t, as W eb er claim ed, but
also religions in th e w o rld , such as C onfucian, B uddhism , Islam , or other religion
such as T o k u g aw a in Jap an , w h ich m o tivated its fo llo w er to h av e high w ork ethics
and becom e cap italists fo r th e ir prosperity. It should be ad m itted , how ever, th at w ork
ethics can be in flu en ced by n o t o nly the religious tea ch in g s from a p articu lar
religion, but also o th e r facto rs such as geographical c o n d itio n , ethnic background,
culture, p sy ch o lo g y and so on (A n co k and Suroso, 1994:84-87).

2.2 T he U rg en cy o f B u sin ess E th ics in Islam


A n y b e h a v io r reflects o n e ’s ethics. I f som eone o b ey s to ethics, s/he tends to
have good m an n ers in all activ ities, including in bu sin ess activ ities. For ex am ple, a
busin essm an w h o is co n cern ed w ith ethics, he w ill be h o n est, w ise and alw ays
co n sid er o th er p e o p le ’s interest. O n th e other hand, p eo p le w h o disregard th e ethics
w ill be co n tra p ro d u ctiv e in b u sin ess. T h ey like ch eating an d are dishonest.
Q ard aw i (1 9 9 5 :5 7 ) arg u ed th a t business and ethics are inseparable. T h ey are
ju s t like k n o w led g e and ethics, p o litics and ethics, and w a r and ethics. E thics is the
flesh and nerve in Islam ic life b ecau se Islam ic tea ch in g s are based on ethical
principles. M o slem s b eliev e in th e u n ity o f life and o f h um an. T h erefo re, w e cannot
accep t th e co n cep ts th a t sep arate earth ly life and religion, as th a t occurs in E urope.
From Islam ic p ersp ectiv e, a b u sin essm an looks for not only p ro fits, but also blessing
from A llah.

2.3 T he prin cip les o f bu sin ess ethics in Islam


In o rd er to ach iev e blessin g s from A llah, a busin essm an should pay attention
to a nu m b er o f ethical prin cip les set out by Islam , such as:
F irst is h o n est in u sing a scale. A llah said “ It is m isfo rtu n e for d ishonest
people. T hose w ho, w hen they hav e to receive by m easure from m en, dem and full
m easure, and w hen th ey have to give by m easure or w eig h t to m en, give less than
due. T he im p o rtan ce o f bein g h o n est is clearly stated not o nly in Islam but also in
m odern b u siness. B yham , fo r ex am p le, said:

“ B u siness ethics build tru st, and trust is the basic o f m odern
b usiness. If w e accep t the view , argued for earlier, th at there
are not tw o m oralities— one for individuals and one for
b u siness— but a com m on m oral fram ew ork for ju d g in g both
individual and co rp o rate activities, then w e can gain some
guid an ce for business b eh aviour by looking at what
philo so p h ers have seen as the m orality good life (Stew art.
1996:47).

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Postgraduate Program, Brawijava University
98 A C risis o r C ritical D evelopm ent

T ru st is so im p o rta n t in b usiness. T o build a trust, a tra d e r m u st be h o n est and fair


to h im /h e rse lf a n d o thers. W eig h in g fairly is one exam ple o f b ein g honest.
S econd is sellin g th in g s w hich are good in quality. O ne o f th e ethical flaw s
in b u sin ess is th a t th e tra d e r som etim es is not tra n sp are n t in tellin g a b o u t the
q u ality o f th e s e llin g stuff, w h ich m eans th at th e seller ig n o res m oral resp o nsibility
in business. T r a d e r has to m ain tain balanced re sp o n sib ility b etw een earn in g profit
and p reserv in g so c ia l norm s, ethics, and culture (C h ry ssid e rs & K aler, 249;
A b d u llah and T riy u w o n o , 1997). B eing dishonest by n ot te llin g th e tru th about the
q u ality o f th e s tu ffs is ch eatin g and unfair. T he p ro phet M o h am m ed SA W states:

“ L e a v e w h a t you believe to be unsure because ho n esty brings


p e a c e fu ln e ss and dish o n esty causes an x ie ty ” (S u n an al-
T u rm u d h i, 9:58).

T h e w o rst th in g is to reach pro fits as m uch as p o ssib le w ith o u t te llin g th e truth


a b o u t th e q u a lity o f th e stuffs. T his is oppression ag ain st th e cu sto m ers. T his is a
ty ran n y w h ich is stro n g ly fo rb id d en in Islam . P eople w ho treat oth ers u n fair will
n ev er o b tain p ro fits.
T h ird is to avoid ex p ressin g sw ear. In Islam , e x p re ssin g sw ears is not
allo w ed b e c a u se it w ill o m it th e blessing. T he p rophet M o h a m m ed said “ Sw ears
stim u lates th e s a le s b u t o m its th e b lessin g ” (S unan A bi D aw u d , 3 :245).
F ourth is b e in g g enerous. T h e seller should be po lite and g en ero u s to all
cu sto m ers in o r d e r to receive b lessin g s and to attract the c u sto m e r’s m otivation to
buy. A good se rv ic e is the key o f success. T he pro p h et M o h am m ed said “ Y our
sm ile to y o u r b ro th e rs (o th er M oslem s) is charity” (al T u rm u d h i, 7:213).

Fifth is to build a good relationship am ong colleag u es. Islam asks its
fo llo w ers to b u ild a co n stru ctiv e relationship w ith anyone, in clu d in g to custom ers
in bu sin ess. Isla m does teach people a concept o f d o m in a tio n o v er another.
R ow land, w ho to o k Jap an ese w ays o f thinking, argued th at business needs
co m m itm en ts m o re than ju s t transactions. T herefore, it is v ery im portant to
dev elo p in d iv id u a l relatio n sh ip to m aintain business netw ork. T h e w ay how
Jap an ese th in k a b o u t b u siness is different from the one practiced by w estern
people, in w h ic h b u sin ess relatio n sh ip is based on the p rivate b en efits (R ow land,
1992:108).

Sixth is to have well administration. In trading w orld, it is natural for the


traders to be in v olve d in borro w ing and lending activities. A l-Q u ran teaches the
need to have a detail administration o f debit and credit activities in order to avoid
mistakes. Allah said:

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© Centre for Indonesian Accounting and M a n a g em e n t Research
Postgraduate Program, Brawij aya University
The International Journal o f Accounting and Business Society 99

“ O you w h o believe! W hen y o u co n tract a debt for a fixed


period, w rite it dow n. L et a scribe w rite it dow n in ju stic e
betw een you. L et not th e scribe refuse to w rite as A llah has
tau g h t him , so let him w rite. L et him (the d eb to r) w ho incurs the
liability d ictate, and he m ust fe a r A llah, his Lord, and d im in ish
n o t an y th in g o f w hat he ow es. B u t if th e debtor is o f poor
u n d erstan d in g , o r w eak, o r u n ab le h im se lf to dictate, then let his
guardian d ictate in ju stic e . A nd if th ere are not tw o m en
(av ailab le), then a m an and tw o w om an, such as you a g ree for
w itn ess, so th a t if one o f them (tw o w o m en ) errs, the o th e r can
rem ind h er...” (al- B aqarah, 2:282).

T his indicates th a t th e p rin cip les o f m odern trad e had actually been con cep tu alized
in A l-Q u ran fo u rteen cen tu ries ago. T h e core o f the concepts is to teach people
w ho are involved in b u sin ess in ord er to be honest, and safe from b ein g cheated.

S eventh is to give a clear price. T h e p u rp o se o f giving a clea r price on the


sellin g stuffs is to a v o id dish o n esty and to p ro tect custom ers from b eing cheated
by n au g h ty sellers. Islam teach es its fo llow ers to label clearly th e stuffs b eing sold
to avoid riba. Indeed, th e m ain aim in b u sin ess is to obtain p ro fits as m uch as
possib le but the c u sto m e rs’ rights m ust also be respected (V elasquez, 184;
A b d u llah and T riy u w o n o , 1997:80). T h e sellers should be to le ran t tow ard the
co stu m e rs’ interest; reg ard less they are p erm an en t or incidental buyers. B eing
to leran t is im p o rtan t in busin ess as the p ro p h et M oham m ed said: “ A llah has given
rohmat to people w h o are to leran t w hen th ey are selling, buying, and asking for a
pro m ise (a d eb t)” (A l-B u k h ari, 7:240). T h e attitu d e o f being fair and g enerous is o f
great im portance to create tran sp aren ce, to leran ce, and dem ocratic.

B eekun identifies nine kinds o f bu sin ess ethics: (1) be honest, (2) keep a
prom ise, (3) love A llah m ore than the tra d in g activity itself, (4) do business w ith
M oslem first b efore d o in g it w ith non M oslem , (5) be hum ble, (6) solve any
pro b lem s by d iscu ssio n , (7) avoid d ishonesty, (8) avoid bribery, and (9) do fair
b u sin ess (B eek u m , 2 0 0 4 :1 0 5 -1 0 9 ).

II I . R e s e a rc h M e th o d o lo g y

3.1 Research Design


This research em p lo ys a qualitative approach to look at the reasons why
M adurese people, w h o are known to have high w ork ethics in business, are often
considered naughty. This phenom enon is im portant to be exam ined from the way
how M adurese people perceive it. In other w ord, this study attem pts to understand
an emic perspective, from which is constructed tow ard an ethical perspective
(Smith, 1993:186; W iyata, 2002:23).

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3.2 R esearch M eth o d


T his research e m p lo y s p h en o m en o lo g ical m eth o d to explain th e case
(F aisal, 1998:6). In relatio n to th e w o rld , p h en o m en o lo g y fo cu ses its analy sis on
the w ay s ho w acto rs u n d erstan d a n d perceive th e ir social w orld (M aliki,
2 003:220). T h e aim s o f th is research are to:
(1 ) fin d o u t th e m ean in g s o f o n e ’s action. A n y action alw ays has a
reaso n (S y am , 2 0 0 5 , 36 & 47; W aters, 1994:33). W hat M adurese
trad ers do w ill b rin g m eanings th a t can be ex p lain ed and
u n d ersto o d ,
(2) u n d erstan d th e su b jectiv e m ean in g o f any action from the n a tiv e ’s
p o in t o f v iew , in clu d in g local p eo p le’s th o u g h t and perceptions
(S y am , 2 0 0 5 :4 8 ). T h u s, it is necessary to u n d erstan d the M adurese
fru its tra d e rs’ actio n fro m th e ir daily u tteran ces,
(3) c o n stru c t th e eth ical perspective b a se d on the existing
p h e n o m en o n , and
(4) ex p lain th e ro le o f so cial structure.

In short, this research attem p ts to ex p lain h o w the M ad u rese fruits trad ers perceive
th e b u sin ess eth ics. U n d e rsta n d in g th is p articular p h en o m e n o n w ill lead us to
identify tw o d iffe re n t g ro u p s, i.e. pancengan and h onest group.
S ociety co n tain s su b jectiv e and o bjective reality (B erg er and L uckm ann,
1990:65). S u b jectiv e re a lity is th e in ternal reality, w h ile ob jectiv e reality is
external reality. D u rk h eim an d W eb er a d m it th a t su b jectiv ity and o b je ctiv ity is tw o
separate en tities. D urkheim saw th a t objectivity is m ore im p o rtan t than
subjectivity, b u t W eb er p erceiv ed it th e o th er w ay.

IV. Findings
A s has been m en tio n ed earlier, in d oing their b u sin e ss the M adurese fruits
trad ers can be divid ed into tw o g ro u p s in term s o f in terp retin g the ethics:
pancengan and h o n est g roups. T he pancengan group d o es not really care with
business ethics in th eir tra d in g activ ities. T he m ost im p o rtan t th in g for them in
doin g th eir b u sin ess w as to get p ro fits as m uch as p o ssib le w ith o u t co n sidering
w h eth er they do it legal or illegally. T h ey understood th e im p ortance o f ethics but
they did not do it. T h ey even d isag reed w ith the notion th a t all b u siness activities
had to regard the ethics (Q ard aw i, 1995; B ertens, 20 0 0 ). T h e im pact w as clear.
T hey inflicted a lost upon the cu sto m ers (M ustaq, 2001). T h ey ignored a principle
that betw een seller and b u y er th ere are th e sam e rights (B erten s, 1997). W hat they
did w as m ore on b u siness rath er than m oral oriented. T h erefo re, they can be
labeled as the tru e utilitarian as th ey had grabbed the c u sto m e rs’ rights. They
argued that such illegal p ractice w ould be forgiven w h en they have repented and
asked G od for forg iv en ess, esp ecially w hen they do it in M akkah w hile p eiio rm in g
ha.j.j.

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U nlike th e pancengan group, th e honest group attem pted to m aintain the


ethical v alues in d o in g business. In th eir business life, b o th groups face th e sam e
external reality b u t th e latter g roup som ehow tries to h o ld som e ethical v alues. A t
least, they c o n sid e re d the im portance o f balan cin g m orality and business
orientation (P ratley , 1997) since tak in g only one asp ect o f th o se orientation m eans
destroying a n o th e r aspect. T h e hon est group even d isag reed w ith the w ay the
pancengan g ro u p d id in doin g business. By inflicting a loss upon the cu sto m ers
and m aking th e cu sto m ers d istru st them , they m ig h t create a negative im age
tow ard the M a d u re se fruits traders, especially in M alang.
A c c o rd in g to a nu m b er o f the traders such as H . Y usuf, N asab, H. S yahid
and H. A bd. H ad i, w h o represented th e honest group, it w as im portant to o bey the
ethical valu es in d o in g b usiness. T his group und erstan d and are aw are o f the
m eaningfulness o f business ethics, including that o f th e ir life as a M oslem . T hey
believed th at w o rk in g is a p art o f w orship, and th at it is an instrum ent to earn a
living; th erefo re, th e profit they earned should be th a t w ith blessing from G od
(M ustaq, 2001). In addition, th ey believe that in ord er to m ake their earn in g G od-
blessed, b u sin ess ethical valu es should alw ays be resp ected (Q ardaw i, 1995; K eraf,
1998). F o r th is g ro u p , ethics is a guideline and p rereq u isite to m ake o n e ’s w ay o f
life w hich is b lessed by G od.
E ven th o u g h both bu sin ess groups face th e sam e objective reality, they
show ed d ifferen t su b jectiv e behavior. T he pancengan gro p u tend to have less or
lack o f cap ab ility in dealin g w ith th e external challenges.
F or m ore detail o n th e d ifferen t o b jective conditions w h ich en able business ethics
not to be m ain tain ed , please see T able 4.1.
T o u n d erstan d b etter on how those M adurese fruit traders in M alang
constructed b u sin ess ethics, it is necessary to recognize th at the ethics w ere
constructed in a social co n stru ctio n base (B erger and L uckm an, 1990) in w hich
their p erso n ality w a s form ed through an internalization p ro cess. T h eir concepts,
view s, and attitu d e o f life w ere based on the objective reality around them . T hese
p ersonalities w ere th en im plem ented in their b u siness activities: how th ey treat
th eir co m p etito rs an d /o r th e ir custom ers. An im p o rtan t point w hich also
co ntributed to th e ir present p ersonality was th eir o riginal backgrounds they
b rought from M ad u ra;

Table 4.1. O bjective C onditions enabling M adurese fruit traders not to m aintain
business ethics
No Root o f Pro blem s Problem Manifestation T ra d e rs ’ Attitude
1 The use o f a spiritual A m ulet is considered to Possessing
practitioner possess a supranatural extraordinary courage
pow er and gaining self­
confidence
2 Risky business Fruit to be sold are Prone to m anipulation
co m m o d ity subject to becoming
rotten and shrinking
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102 A Crisis or C ritical D e v e lo p m e n t...

3 C u sto m e rs’ dem and L ow p rices and Q u a lity m an ip u la tio n


g u aran teed quality for and price m ark-up
cu sto m ers, w hereas
trad ers b o ught them in
w h o lesale and m ixed
q u ality
4 Inadequate ed ucation E lem en tary education L ess c o m p etitiv e
back g ro u n d or less than
that

F urth erm o re, please ch eck T a b le 4.2. fo r th e interpretation o f b u sin ess eth ics by
M ad u rese fruit trad ers in M alan g
W ithin th e ex istin g situ atio n (objective reality), th e y face th e e x istin g and
hig h ly v alued norm s w hich w ere rooted from either th eir cultu re o r re lig io n , o ne o f
w h ich is term ed baburugan becce \ T h e y w ere often un read y to face th e pace o f
life far from th eir h om etow n, such th a t o f in M alang, in w hich th e re w e re currents
ex istin g norm s to be respected as M ad u rese and as a good M oslem .
A s fruits sellers at the m arket, th ey frequently in teracted w ith o th er fruits
sellers and custom ers, as w ell as o th er b u siness doers. In ad d itio n , th e y also liked
interactin g w ith th e sam e trad ers o f no n -M alang origin. T h ey felt th a t th ey had
so m eth in g in com m on, reg ard in g life and fate. T h ese fru its sellers also interacted
w ith th e ir respected religious leaders.

T able 4.2. T h e interpretation o f b u siness ethics by M ad u rese fruit trad ers in M alang
G ro u p o f U n d erstan d in g A w areness In terp retatio n
T raders
Panceng U nd erstan d the Q u ite aw are o f the E th ics are co n sid ered as
an group m ean in g o f im portance o f v alu es to be respected.
b u siness ethics k eep in g business H ow ever, b u sin ess is
ethics b u siness, w hich cannot
w ork to g e th e r w ith ethics
since ethics are in a
tra n sc en d en t area,
beyond the p ropane
bu siness activ ities
H onest U n derstand the A w are o f the W o rk in g is considered
traders m eaning o f im portance o f as a part o f w orship;
business ethics keeping business therefo re, in the effort o f
ethics earn in g a living, one
should take eth ic s into
acco u n t to m ake the

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earn in g halal and


barakah (G od blessed)

In th e ir daily social life, those fruit trad ers also un d erw en t both
ex tern alizatio n and in tern alizatio n processes, w hich then led in to a process o f

o n 'l h e T * ? ° T “ Ve •" b e h a r ° r inC' Uding e th 'CS in fru it trad in g b u sin ess- Based
on th e d ata analysis, it w a s found that th eir concept o f ethics w a s built on the
fm m mM aH0n ° f a " u m b er o f v a lu e sourc“ , such as th e ir culture th a t they brought
from M a d u ra , religious n o rm s an d local culture w h ere they c u rren tly lived
R elig io n , according to th em , w as th e soul, and cu lture w as the sp irit. T his m eans
that c u ltu re an d religion fo r M ad u rese people w ere inseparable. T h o se M adurese
p eople m ig h t w ander an d live in o th er places ou tsid e M adura Island, but it is not
easy fo r th em to leave th e ir ro o t cultu re (K untow ijoyo, 2002).

t o F f g u r e ^ l HUStrati0n ° n tHe C° nStrUCtS 0 f m eanin§ in business e* i c s , please refer

dailv life in wl ■ i ? Wm ° n ,m Plem entatio” o f those ethical values in their


T h il a > unheaIthy com petition am ong the fruits sellers rarely occurred.
as due to the fact that they were mostly relatives or cam e from the same
hom e o w n s such as Proppo and Tlanakan in Pam ekasan, Madura. O ther people or
m l V I C,S Vf 1C? W^.nteJ? t0 J ° in 1,1 tllIS system o f business had to become the
11 e i s ° tle § fam ily first (through a m arriage bond) to be considered as

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insiders. T h is co n d itio n w ould create business to leran ce, av o id m o n o p o ly , and


m inim ize u n h ealth y com petitions.
M ean w h ile, in regards to cu sto m er service, the tra d ers o f pancengan group
tend to m an ip u late p ro d u ct’s q uality and w eight as w ell as p rices m ark-up;
w hereas th o se w h o w ere not involved in pancengan ca se alw ays tried to avoid
m an ip u latio n , or at least m inim izing it. Such m an ip u latio n case w ithin the
pancengan group o ccu rred p robably due to factors like p ro fit-o rien ted , b arg aining
practices in purch ase, risky com m odity, tight trad in g co m p etitio n , and the
increasin g cost o f liv in g in urban area.
In additio n to that, trad ers attitu d e tow ard env iro n m en tal clean lin ess and
beauty w as positive, as they w ere aw are o f its im p ortance for co m m u n ity sake.
T hey noted dow n, how ever, th at oth er non-fruit trad e rs sellin g at th e m arket
should also particip ate in creating clean lin ess and beau ty at the m arket, as those
no n -fru it traders w ere believed to also co ntributed in leav in g g arbage there.
T h erefo re, social resp o n sib ility w as necessary so th a t it w ill n o t be b u rd en so m e to
th e city o ffice o f m arket affairs. T h ey also adm itted th a t m a in ta in in g the
clean lin ess o f the m ark et w as not an easy th ing to do as trad itio n a l m ark et w as
so m eh o w ch aracterized by n egative co n d itio ns such as dirty, sloppy, sm elly, etc.
N ev erth eless, the clean lin ess aw aren ess seem ed to com e up o u t o f the religious
valu es th a t they believ ed , b esides th e presen ce o f city reg u latio n s th at asked them
to keep the en v iro n m en t clean.
T o get a m o re co n crete idea on th e im plem entation o f bu sin ess eth ics, please
seeT ab le 4.3.
A s a clo sin g rem ark, it is n ecessary to und erline that Islam as a relig io n is seen as
th e m ain sou rce o f m otivation for its follo w ers in bu ild in g p o sitiv e w ork ethics.
W o rk in g in Islam is considered as a d ivine need or ibadah, and a g u id elin e to
ethical b eh av io r at th e sam e tim e. R eligion is a spiritual instru m en t w hich controls
b u sin e ssm a n ’s attitu d e (Zorah & M arshall, 2005). T his statem en t is in
co n trad ictio n w ith w h a t w as claim ed by W eb er w ho stated th a t u n lik e P rotestant,
Islam is not a religion w hich gen erates capitalism .

T able 4.3. T h e im plem entation o f bu sin ess ethics o f m adurese fruit trad ers in
m alang in real life

No B ehaviour A ffecting Factors Im p lem entation


1 Relationship a. Familial a. tog e th e rn e ss in business
between b.E th nic bound b .h u m a n tolerance
business doers c. Marital c. m o no po ly -free
d. occupational d .m in im iz ed com petition
e. Financialpatronage
2 C o n s u m e rs ’ a. profit oriented a. quality is subject to
Service b.bargaining m anipulation

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tran sactio n b. price is subject to


c. risky trad in g m anipulation
co m m o d ity c. w eig h t and scaling are
d. q u ality dem anding su b ject to m anipulation
cu sto m ers d.non-pancengan group
e. relig io u s v alues av o id s o r m inim izes
f. in creasin g needs in m anipulation
life and com petition
3 A ttitu d e to w ard a. relig io u s values T h ere is environm ental
the b. cu rren t ru les and aw aren ess and ex p ectatio n
e n v iro n m e n t regulations for o th er traders to also
c. non-co n d u civ e p articip ate in the aw aren ess
su rro u n d in g

A n o th e r co n clu sio n th at can be d raw n (but W eb er m issed ) from th e case o f


th o se M ad u rese fru it traders w ith high business ethics in M alang is th a t bu sin ess
d oers are affe c ted n o t only by th e d o ctrin e found in th e ir religion, but also by o th er
norm s such th e ir p rev io u s as w ell as locally new cultures. In addition to that, such
tra d e rs’ a w aren ess and u n derstanding on business ethics w ere also prom oted
b ecause th e y liv ed in a space in w h ich religion and culture interm ingled.

V. C onclusions
5.1. R eg ard in g h o w th e M adurese fruit traders interpreted business ethics, it w as
found th a t th e re w ere differen ces betw een th e group involved in pncengan
and th e o n e w h o honestly did th e ir business. T he fo rm er group p ut eth ics as
a to tally sep arated entity o f any business activities including th at o f fruit
trading. T h e y believed th at b u siness is m erely business, and is not related to
ethics, is profit-o rien ted , and is som etim es transcendent. In o th er w ords,
bu sin ess an d eth ics are tw o co m p letely separated th in g s and not to be related
in an y w ay.
T his is n o t th e case o f interp retin g ethics to those w ho honestly did and
u n d erstoo d bu sin ess as a part o f their divine life. Therefore, they paid
atten tio n on anyth in g that th ey sold and how they did it in such a w ay th at it
w o u ld n ’t c au se any loss to th e consum ers. T o them , doing business w as
co n sid ered as activities w ith tran scendent and divine values w hich led not
only h o riz o n ta lly into social responsibility w ith o th er hum an beings, but also
v ertically into divine responsibility to God. For th at reason, they held up
ethical v alu es in doing business so that w hat they yielded w ould be full o f
G o d ’s b lessin g s. In that w ay, this group believed that ethics possessed
certain v alu es to keep up high and w hich w ere inseparable from business
activities.

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5.2. R elated to h o w the M a d u re se fru it tra d e rs co n stru cted b u sin ess ethics, it is
un derstood th a t such in terp retatio n resu lted from an interaction betw een
th eir ow n selv es and re lig io u s v alu es th a t th ey b eliev ed as w ell as w ith th eir
cultu re o f o rig in (in th is case M ad u ra) in w hich th e h ad been previously
exposed and th e local c u ltu re in w h ich th ey cu rren tly lived. T h is m eans that
the co n stru ct resu lted from th e in term in g lin g acc u m u latio n o f values in
religion, c u ltu re o f o rig in , and local cu ltu re su rro u n d in g them . In spite o f
this, they w e re split in to tw o d iffere n t groups reg ard in g th e w ay they
interpreted b u sin ess eth ics: the h o n est gro u p o f fruit tra d ers saw th at ethics
and b u sin ess w ere in se p a ra b le to g ain G od-blessed fortune; w h ereas the
pancengan g ro u p saw th a t eth ics w ere tran scen d en t and should not interact
in any w ays w ith th e so p ro fit-o rien ted business.
5.3. F inally, no m a tte r h o w th e y im p lem en ted th e m ean in g o f eth ics, the M adurese
fru it trad ers w ere b a sic a lly to le ra n t as th ey w ere g en erally relativ es or had
fam ilial b o n d (due to m arriag e) to so m e degrees. O n th e o th er hand, they
saw o th er fru it tra d e rs as c o m p e tito rs though resp e ctin g o n e an o th e r and
ho ld in g eth ical v alu es w ere reg arded. M eanw hile, th e y w ere essentially
open, h o n est, and fa ir to th e ir cu sto m ers since th e y con sid ered that
cu sto m e rs’ p o sitiv e tru sts sh o u ld be b u ilt and m ain tain ed . T h is w as not the
case o f th e pancengan g ro u p w h o h eld the p rin cip les th a t b u siness w as
m erely an in stru m en t o f g ain in g p ro fit reg ardless o th er p a rtie s’ need.
H ow ever, th e y w ere aw a re o f cle an and beautiful en v iro n m en t, as the
influence o f relig io u s d o c trin e as w ell as th e presence o f city regulations.

V I. S u g g e stio n s
T his dissertatio n fo cu sed on fru it trad ers as the su b ject o f the study,
em p lo yin g a q u alitativ e approach n am ely case study. T h is is necessary to
obtain in-depth fin d in g s d esp ite som e w eaknesses. T h e re fo re, w hat w as
found w ith th e M ad u rese fru it tra d ers in M alang m ig h t not be the case for
traders o f th e sam e eth n ic g roup y e t d ifferen t trad in g co m m o d ity , nor in
oth er geograp h ical research locatio ns either. T h erefore, th ese areas are spots
that oth er research ers can w o rk on to com pare and co n trast sim ilar cases for
non-fruit traders.

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