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  • FINAL_v17_Manuscript_May_31_23

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Not by what we see: how Christian religious beliefs influence market and community logics in a rural context

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

E-pub ahead of print
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>16/06/2023
<mark>Journal</mark>International Journal of Organizational Analysis
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date16/06/23
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Purpose: This study aims to address decision-making processes of Christian entrepreneurs living and working in rural areas. The authors draw on the institutional logics perspective and stewardship perspective to demonstrate how religion influences rationality and entrepreneurial decision-making processes in a rural context. Design/methodology/approach: This study adopts a qualitative interpretive approach supported by ethnographic fieldwork. Qualitative and interpretative analyses are used to access deeper insights into the decision-making processes of Christian entrepreneurs in a rural environment. Data include short-term immersive events, observations and interviews as COVID-19 pandemic restrictions lifted in the region. Findings: This study reveals that normative (religious) commitments – a sense of moral duty and action influenced by religion – and a high-religiosity context – where religion permeates diverse aspects of life – lead to behaviors that are perceived as rational and normative. In this context, the normative relationship between a market and a community logic, alongside a logic of religion, are all linked through a stewardship perspective. A broad focus on the development of community and place also safeguards business and community interests. Research limitations/implications: Since the findings are based on one rural area and one religion, future studies should address a broader range of geographical areas and religions. In this study, uncertainty arising from COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and the resumption of business exchanges also influence the decision-making processes of the entrepreneurial participants. While the findings reflect the normative dispositions and the decision-making processes that are inherent in this context, an even broader examination of rural entrepreneurship will benefit our understanding of entrepreneurial decisions in terms of rationality and place. Practical implications: The findings reveal that entrepreneurs who relocate to a rural, high-religiosity context should first assess how the community affiliated through a set of beliefs – expects actors to behave. Additionally, applicability to other religions requires further consideration. Originality/value: This study answers the call to examine entrepreneurship and the underpinnings of rationality that challenge mainstream debates on entrepreneurial decision-making and religion. The findings answer this call by advancing the knowledge of the decision-making process of religious entrepreneurs. In this respect, the findings present a context where rational business behaviors, influenced by a market logic, are transformed through exchanges with a community informed by a logic of religion. A conceptual model illustrates the nature of this context and associated processes.