Original Research

Perceived religious discrimination as predictor of work engagement, with specific reference to the Rastafari religion

Freda van der Walt, Thulo S. Mpholo, Petronella Jonck
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 37, No 1 | a1524 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v37i1.1524 | © 2016 Freda van der Walt, Thulo S. Mpholo, Petronella Jonck | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 August 2015 | Published: 25 May 2016

About the author(s)

Freda van der Walt, Department of Human Resources Management, Central University of Technology, South Africa
Thulo S. Mpholo, Department of Human Resources Management, Central University of Technology, South Africa
Petronella Jonck, Research and Innovation Unit, National School of Government, South Africa


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Abstract

Although perceived religious discrimination has been studied in the past, much remains unknown about the topic. The focus of this study was the Rastafari religion, because this religious group has up to now been excluded from research studies. A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted with a sample of 80 employees belonging to the Rastafari religion, chosen from organisations in two provinces in South Africa. The findings emanating from the quantitative research study indicated that, on average, the respondents perceived to be discriminated against. Furthermore, a positive relationship was established between perceived religious discrimination and work engagement. These findings advanced the understanding of perceived religious discrimination, and the impact that it may have on work engagement, particularly with reference to the Rastafari religion.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: The article contributes to the interdisciplinary discourse regarding perceived religious discrimination, with specific reference to the Rastafari religion which is a minority religious group in South Africa. Perceived religious discrimination is discussed and investigated in the context of the workplace, and the aim was to establish whether perceived religious discrimination influences work-related attitudes, such as work engagement. Because previous studies have associated perceived discrimination with less job involvement and career satisfaction, fewer career prospects, greater work conflict, lower feelings of power, decreased job prestige, and less organisational citizenship behaviour (Thomas 2008:80), it was expected that perceived religious discrimination would have a negative influence on work engagement. The findings show that religion possibly provides individuals with the necessary personal resources to persevere when faced with religious discrimination, and sustain performance as well as attain success within the context of the workplace.

Keywords: perceived religious discrimination; work engagement; Rastafari; discrimination; religious discrimination


Keywords

perceived religious discrimination; work engagement; Rastafari; discrimination; religious discrimination

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