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Belief in God may influence workplace conduct

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A congregation's beliefs about work attitudes and practices affect a churchgoer on the job, according to a new US study.

However, the effect depends in part on how involved that person is in the congregation, not merely on occasional attendance, researchers said.

"We already knew that about 60 per cent of American adults are affiliated with congregations, but we wanted to delve into whether that carries over from weekend worship services to the work day," said Jerry Z Park, associate professor of sociology in Baylor University's College of Arts & Sciences.

"It turns out it does make some difference in their attitudes at work. That means it has a potential 'payoff' not only for employers, but for employees themselves," said Park.

Researchers asked a random sample of full-time employees if they attended a place of worship, and if so, they were then asked whether their congregation emphasised integrating their faith in the workplace through "sacrificial love" to their co-workers, sensing God's presence at work among others.

What seemed to make the difference, researchers found, was frequent attendance at a church that stressed a merge of faith and work.

Simply being at such a congregation - or just attending any church - did not result in greater work satisfaction or dedication.

Researchers' analysis was based on a 2010 Web-based survey of 1,022 full-time workers. Their findings concentrated on three areas: Job satisfaction, job commitment and entrepreneurship.

Full-time workers who regularly attend a congregation that emphasises integrating their faith at work reported higher job satisfaction, researchers found.

Full-time workers who regularly attend a congregation that emphasises integrating their faith at work reported higher commitment to their place of employment.

People who are actively involved in congregations that promote integration of faith with work are more likely to describe themselves as entrepreneurial, Park said.

The research was published in the journal Sociology of Religion.

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