Religious Diversity: The Work Experiences of Muslims in New Zealand

Amjad, Saima
Haar, Jarrod
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Master of Business
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Auckland University of Technology

New Zealand is a society with growing diversity and has reached the stage where it is truly a multi-cultural society. This includes those from other cultures and countries as well as religions. One such group that has grown over the past decade are those who identify as being Muslims. However, with this growth in numbers, there have been issues and experiences raised that highlight that those who follow the Muslim religion in New Zealand do not always have positive experiences. Despite these issues, there has been very little empirical research on Muslims in the workplace and the present study seeks to address this deficiency. I utilize perceived discrimination as a construct to examine the effects of discrimination in the workplace on job attitudes (job satisfaction, organizational commitment and turnover intentions) and psychological health (depression, happiness, job stress and work-life balance). While a detrimental effect is expected, I also extend the literature by exploring supervisor support as an antecedent to determine if this reduces perceptions of discrimination at work. Next, I explore the potential moderating effects of meaningful work, and argue that while discrimination at work is detrimental, doing work that is meaningful may buffer the harmful links. Finally, I analyzed the whole model testing for moderated-mediation effects to determine whether the effects of perceived discrimination as a mediator of supervisor support effects was moderated by meaningful work, to determine whether boundary effects exist. I test these relationships on a sample of 121 Muslim employees who are currently employed. The majority are born overseas. The mean score for perceived discrimination was modest (M=2.3) although this still represents a level of discrimination that is negative, as it is correlated significantly and detrimentally with all outcomes. I analysed data using the PROCESS macron and found consistent effects across (1) job attitudes and (2) psychological health. Overall, perceptions of supervisor support were found to be negatively related to perceived discrimination and had beneficial effects to the job attitudes and psychological health outcomes. Overall, perceived discrimination was detrimentally linked to all psychological health outcomes but only turnover intentions (directly) in the job attitudes. Hence, mediation effects were more supported towards the psychological health outcomes than the job attitudes. The moderation and moderated-mediation effects were also consistent being found only on job attitudes, specifically job satisfaction and organizational commitment, but not turnover intentions. The significant two-way interactions showed that high levels of meaningful work were important but mostly for those with low levels of perceived discrimination. The moderated-mediation effects were also consistent, showing that, for respondents with meaningful work, the effects of perceived discrimination as a mediator are non-significant at low levels of meaningful work, but significant and positive at high levels, for both job satisfaction and organizational commitment. I discuss the implications for organizations and future researchers.

Religious diversity , Diversity , Discrimination , New Zealand , Muslims , Job satisfaction , Happiness , Job stress , Work life balance , Organizational commitment , Turnover intention
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