RELIGION AND BUSINESS: STRENGTHENING BOTH SOCIETY AND BUSINESS THROUGH UTILIZATION OF RELIGIOUS PRINCIPLES IN BUSINESS Society is an aggregation of peoples in all parts of the world as well as an integration of the institutions these people have created to better the human condition. Three of the major institutions making up modern society are government, religion, and business. This paper will examine religion and its guiding principles with an attempt at demonstrating that some of those principles can be enacted more fully in a normative model of stakeholder capitalism than in shareholder capitalism. For a significant portion of the people around the world for which religion is an important aspect of their lives, we seek to find a way for them to be able to more fully live their religious principles in our economic system. In so doing, not only will this paper demonstrate how such an embrace can positively influence business success, but more importantly strengthens peoples’ ability to more fully live their lives and strengthen society through that fulfilled life. Capitalism, as outlined by Adam Smith (1776), has created tremendous wealth in the United States and throughout the world. In so doing, many societal ills have been solved, and much good has been produced. A large part of the success of capitalism came about because of the recognition by Smith that the embrace of self-interest could lead to much good. However, for most faith traditions, a sole focus on self-interest is antithetical to their basic belief systems. In this paper we argue that such an embrace has a natural limit, and that an alternative embrace of the stakeholder perspective with its promotion of both self-interest and other-regarding interest, can lead economies to soar to even greater heights through the embrace of religious principles practiced by many adherents of that economy. One of the basic tenets of all the major religions of the world is the golden rule – the idea that we should do unto others as we would have them do unto us (Trevino & Nelson, 2010). Andrew Wicks is currently editing a special issue of the Journal of Management Spirituality and Religion examining the relationship between spirituality, religion and stakeholder theory. This current work parallels that effort by providing stakeholder theory with a normative undergirding in religious principles. Such an effort is complementary to the excellent work examining the normative bases of stakeholder theory from a philosophical perspective (e.g. Donaldson & Preston, 1995; Phillips, 2003; Jones & Felps, 2013). While criticizing stakeholder theory on several fronts, Jensen (2002) does argue that stakeholder theory has the positive aspect of providing psychic energy for the firm. In the United States, and many other countries in the world where religion is widely practiced, we argue that the embrace of religious principles already held dear does and can provide even greater energy to their economic actors. In their article on stakeholder salience and stakeholder performance, Agle, Mitchell, and Sonnenfeld (1999) discuss the critical role of normative discourse on the future of business in the following passage: The capability of normative declarations to alter outcomes is well accepted. "We hold these truths to be self-evident . .. ," "inalienable rights, . . . life, liberty, .. . pursuit of happiness ... " and similar statements contain within them social energy that inspires the mind, justifies new modes of thought, and enables change… Normative discourse, we therefore believe, must continue to be endemic to stakeholder theory and research if scholars want this theory to flourish and fulfill its aims as a theory of the firm-not the least of which is attending to the long-run interests of both the business corporation and the society that gives it life. In the paper, we will provide several examples of religious principles held by multiple religious groups that are in line with the assumptions and prescriptions of stakeholder theory, and which when practiced in an economic setting will allow business leaders to live a life of integrity (“wholeness”) and provide authentic leadership to their organizations (George, 2003, 2010). One such example of those principles as expounded in the Articles of Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and which builds upon New Testament scripture is as follows: “We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, and in doing good to all men, indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul…if there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report, or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.” (Smith, 1835: Thirteenth Article) The Vatican has recently released a set of principles for business ethics in its publication entitled “Vocation of the Business Leader” (Turkson & Toso, 2012). We will demonstrate that these Catholic principles are much closer in line to normative stakeholder theory than shareholder value maximization theory. This paper will also strengthen stakeholder theory by describing ways in which these religious principles can be enacted utilizing the stakeholder perspective. As an example, while agency theory (e.g. Jensen and Meckling, 1976) rightly recognized some problems in the economic system, its prescriptions for management are not nearly as in line with religious principles as are the prescriptions of stewardship theory (Davis, Schoorman, & Donaldson, 1997), a theory closely aligned with many faith traditions. In Laura Nash’s book, Believers in Business (Nash, 1994), she identifies three types of Christian business leaders – the generalist, the justifier, and the seeker. Whereas the “generalist” doesn’t recognize the tensions between religion and business, and the “justifier” assumes that success means God’s blessings, the “seeker” recognizes and attempts to reconcile the tensions. We believe, and will demonstrate, that the seeker will find those tensions greatly reduced through the stakeholder perspective. Looking through the lens of various religious traditions, this paper will explore the ways in which many of the principles found in various religious texts such as the Bible, Koran, and others are often aligned. The paper will also explore how business enacting such generally agreed-upon principles can serve as an agent of societal good through the promotion and practice of such principles. References Agle, B. R., Mitchell, R. & Sonnenfeld, J. (1999). Who Matters to CEOs? An Investigation of Stakeholder Attributes and Salience, Corporate Performance, and CEO Values, Academy of Management Journal. 42(5) 507-525. Davis, J. H., Schoorman, F. D., & Donaldson, L. (1997). Toward a stewardship theory of management. Academy of Management Review, 22(1), 20-47. Donaldson, T., & Preston, L. E. (1995). The stakeholder theory of the corporation: Concepts, evidence, and implications. Academy of Management Review, 20, 65-91. George, B. (2010). True north: Discover your authentic leadership. 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