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The most recent large-scale study shows that religion at work has matured and become commonplace (Institut Montaigne, OFRE, 2019). Seventy percent of individuals claim to encounter it at least occasionally, notably through requests for adjustments to working hours, prayers during breaks, or the wearing of visible religious signs.
We consider religion in the monotheistic sense as intrinsically linked to the question of salvation and thus of access to the afterworld, conditional on the “good” behavior of the faithful. It is therefore normative, referring to a dogma, traditions, and institutions, and proposes a certain vision of transcendence. Religious fact (Debray, 2002) in the work context can be defined as the set of behaviors that arise from the interpretation of the faithful (who must have self-defined as such) of the religious doctrine to which they refer and that occur in a professional context (Gaillard and Jolivet, 2019). To address these behaviors, organizations seek a point of balance through regulation to define their posture (i.e. position) on the matter (Galindo and Zannad, 2014). These positions can sometimes be perceived as unfair or exclusionary by employees (Benaïssa, 2019; Gaillard, 2019).
This work allows us to understand how the management of religious behaviors perceived as exclusionary can contribute to the development of activities that reconcile religiosity and professionalism. In the first section, we propose a research state of the art on the impact of religious fact in organizations and the perceived inclusion of religious behaviors…


This article examines the influence of the feeling of exclusion from the labor market on the choice of entrepreneurship to reduce the tension between religiosity and professionalism. Using a life story method, we address experiences of perceived exclusion from Muslim employees who are now entrepreneurs. In particular, the results highlight the dynamics of generalized feelings of exclusion in the labor market during one or several work experiences. This work sheds light on the movements at work toward affinity-type activities and the development of precarious and undeclared business activities after professional disillusionment, without denying the opportunistic dimension of choice. It thereby provides elements for understanding the labor market’s marginal shift toward so-called affinity structures by mobilizing work on entrepreneurial motivations and constraining factors. The study also discuss the need for organizations to take steps toward inclusion. Lastly, this study opens the way for further research on affinity organizations and the inclusion of people who prioritize their religiosity over their professionality in non-religious organizations.

  • spirituality and religion at work
  • entrepreneurship
  • necessity and opportunity
  • constraints
  • religious rules-based firm
  • life stories

Entrepreneuriat et religion : vers une mutation affinitaire du marché du travai ? Le sentiment d’exclusion en question

Cet article s’intéresse à l’influence du sentiment d’exclusion du marché du travail sur le choix d’entreprendre pour réduire la tension entre religiosité et professionnalité. Grâce à la méthodologie des récits de vie, nous abordons les expériences d’exclusion perçue de salariés musulmans aujourd’hui entrepreneurs. Les résultats mettent notamment en avant la dynamique de généralisation à l’ensemble du marché du travail du sentiment d’exclusion au cours d’une ou plusieurs expériences salariales. Ce travail éclaire les mouvements à l’œuvre vers des activités de type affinitaire, et met au jour le développement d’activités précaires et non déclarées dans certains cas, après une désillusion professionnelle, sans pour autant nier la dimension opportuniste du choix. Il apporte donc des éléments de compréhension de la mutation marginale du marché du travail vers des structures dites affinitaires, en mobilisant les travaux sur les motivations entrepreneuriales et ceux sur les facteurs contraignants. La nécessité pour les organisations d’engager des démarches en faveur de l’inclusion est discutée. La recherche ouvre finalement la voie à d’autres travaux sur les organisations affinitaires, et sur l’inclusion des personnes qui donnent la priorité à leur religiosité face à leur professionnalité, et ce dans les organisations non affinitaires.

  • fait religieux au travail
  • entrepreneuriat
  • nécessité et opportunité
  • contraintes
  • entreprise affinitaire
  • récits de vie
Hugo Gaillard
Hugo Gaillard is a Assistant Professor in HRM at Le Mans University and Doctor of Philosophy in Management Sciences, he has completed a CIFRE Thesis at Le Mans University on the contributions of organizational justice theories for the regulation of religious expression at work, defended in 2019. His research focuses on the tensions and transitions that individuals and their organizations experience. He is also a social media administrator for the Revue Française de Gestion, as well as for the AGRH.
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Uploaded on on 21/10/2021
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