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She got a positive response. Soon afterwards, her business, now called Quest, started to take off, helped in part by a decision by the Ministry of Education to switch the language of instruction from French to English. But ultimately it was God, Beata insists, who has caused the business to succeed. However, the fact that she is both young and a woman has imposed tough challenges.

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She's not always taken seriously. She's had to turn down deals that were about to close, not only because of bribery that involved sexual favours, like a weekend away in Dubai. Beata commits each day to God in prayer. She prays for every major decision and for overall guidance for the direction of the company. But she's discreet about her faith amongst her employees. This is partly because she has people of other faiths working for her and partly because she is sensitive to the way Christianity is associated with the genocide in Rwanda. She speaks about her faith when the opportunity arises but in general she seeks to express her faith in the way she manages the business and the way it drives her vision that, in a country in which the reading culture is still very weak, Quest can work as an agent of transformation.

The second entrepreneur is a Chinese Malaysian who wanted to help build a more honest society in Malaysia and particularly the industry in which he worked - construction. The company specialises in large retaining walls. NRS has developed its own technologies for which it has patents. The company is so confident about its quality that it offers year guarantees on all its walls!

It is the market leader in retaining walls in Malaysia and has expanded successfully to India, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Bangladesh. But it wasn't improving the quality of retaining walls which drove Nehemiah to start his company. Instead, it was his desire to challenge the culture of corruption in the construction industry.

By the time he turned 40, Nehemiah had risen to the position of General Manager of a large multinational company in Malaysia. In spite of his influence in the company, he found that he was unable to stop the offering and accepting of bribes by his staff as they would bypass him to get permission from higher up to pay bribes. Even though Nehemiah wasn't directly involved in bribery, he felt tainted by it. Eventually, he decided that if he was to do anything about corruption in the industry, he would have to do so from within a company of his own. In , Nehemiah left his well-paid job to start NRS.

As he was unwilling to pay bribes, the new company struggled to get work. On several occasions, Nehemiah had to raise additional external finance to keep the business afloat.

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In order to get its first contract, he had to quote well below his cost price. But the business quickly gained a reputation for excellent service and honest practice. More recently, the company has gained a national reputation for its policy on bribes. Partly because of this, Nehemiah has been interviewed on radio and on national television TV. He speaks openly about his Christian faith, even though proselytising is punishable with fines and imprisonment. Often taking their cue from Max Weber [] , previous studies of Christian entrepreneurs have noted a strong sense of calling Malloch ; Roels ; Werner The same applies in our research across all three regions.

We see it as an indication of the degree to which the respondents see their business activities as contributing to the extension of God's Kingdom. The following remark is illustrative of Beata's strong sense of calling: 'With this business that God gave me, I think He wants me to fulfill something.

I think I have a higher objective'. Here is how Nehemiah reflected on his sense of calling: 'Glorify God in business, whatever the cost. That is the purpose of my business. That is why I am in this business'. In both of these statements we can see a strong sense of calling and how that also brings a clear sense of purpose for both of these entrepreneurs.

Faith and business success. The following comment illustrates the sense of responsibility Beata carries for the performance and sustainability of her business:. Nehemiah expressed his understanding of the impact of his faith on the outcome in his business like this:. I think the fact that NRS has grown and is still growing and that it has been profitable for 18 years is an indication that all these values are actually good for the company'. These comments reflect one of the themes to have emerged from most of our case studies - how the entrepreneurs prioritise the future and are willing to make sacrifices in the short-term for better outcomes in future.

Social impact - poverty alleviation. The contribution of business to poverty alleviation is often considered in terms of corporate philanthropy, corporate social responsibility CSR , social enterprise and fair trade. Relatively little attention is given to how the core business operations of commercial enterprise can help tackle poverty. Beata and Nehemiah appear not to suffer from this attention deficit. Beata told us:. It's amazing the way they look at the books and images; most of them have never had a read-out-loud activity and they have so many questions.

They have so many comments, and you can see how their eyes open and you can see their minds going crazy. I'm passionate about that and I feel there is a lot more I can do with this'. For Nehemiah, there are two key ways in which his business contributes to poverty alleviation. The first is by way of his commitment to the personal flourishing of his personnel:.

The second way is by avoiding the wastage of public funds by refusing to pay bribes. These entrepreneurs clearly believe that, whether it is through their service to employees, of the general public, or of customers and the children for which they are responsible , they are making a contribution to the upliftment of the poor. Figure 1 shows responses from all 64 entrepreneurs to the following statement: 'I think there are situations in which offering or accepting a bribe is acceptable for a Christian'.

The response categories vary from 'strongly agree' to 'strongly disagree'. The different colours show the responses from different regions - with Africa in blue, Asia in green and South America in khaki. There are some interesting differences across the regions. None of the Africans felt that bribes can be justified, whilst a minority of Asian and South American respondents believe that there are situations in which the involvement by Christians in bribery can be justified.

The reason for these differences is something the authors plan to explore as they develop their analysis. Nehemiah Lee is willing to pay the price for his decision that his business would not offer or accept bribes:. Whilst it placed tremendous pressure on us it forced us to pray more earnestly and God was gracious and He has brought us to this profitable place'. Beata is equally unwavering in her commitment not to engage in any underhand dealings: 'I have lost a lot of good business deals. But I have not lost my credibility. If you want to do business with me, you have to be straight'.

For research purposes, in our study the issue of bribery is dealt with separately from the issue of poverty. We wish to underline the point that was made earlier in this article, however, that the two issues are very closely connected. In taking the stance they do on the issue of bribery, entrepreneurs like Nehemiah and Beata promote the kind of integrity and transparency that are widely recognised as fundamental to the reduction of poverty.

Despite the radically different environments, culture, educational backgrounds, experience and wealth status of these two entrepreneurs, there are some striking resemblances. Both exhibit a deep sense of calling to business and to serve a purpose greater than themselves and their immediate family. It incorporates, for instance, serving employees regardless of their faith commitments and serving society more broadly. In one case, this brought national recognition on a national TV programme. Linked to the strong sense of calling is a similarly strong sense of dependence on God.

Both entrepreneurs referred to prayer - for guidance, wisdom, or God's provision in challenging times. Perhaps it is this dependence on God - exhibited in the form of regular communication - which enabled both these entrepreneurs to resist pressure for bribes and favours, even when this meant the loss of potential business. It could, alternatively, be their previous experience of God's generous provision for them in the past. It is clear, in any case, that both entrepreneurs believe that God has blessed their businesses in material ways.

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In several respects, our findings appear to mirror those of previous studies of Christian entrepreneurs in developed markets. This applies to the sense of calling and the pursuit of a higher purpose Boyle ; Malloch ; Werner With regard to corruption and its pervasiveness, the circumstances of these two entrepreneurs are clearly different from those of Christian entrepreneurs in previous studies.

It appears that encounters with parties seeking dishonest gain are frequent and inevitable if not actually the norm in the contexts in which our entrepreneurs work. It is remarkable that both Beata and Nehemiah have a zero-tolerance policy on corruption and are willing to forgo business which cannot be won without corrupt dealing. Both claim to be known in their industries for their zero-tolerance stance.

In addition, Nehemiah had as already mentioned made a public declaration of his faith as part of his motivation for his position on corruption, notably on a national TV programme. Both Nehemiah and Beata believe that, in spite of the loss of some contracts due to their refusal to engage in corruption, their businesses had benefitted from this policy. This is encouraging and probably reflects well on their respective environments both in terms of the number of people who are not corrupt and also perhaps official efforts to limit the extent of corruption.

However, it would be easy to overlook the resolve and courage that would have been required for these entrepreneurs to decide to implement this policy. Indeed, Nehemiah indicated that in the first year of his business he struggled to obtain any contracts and in order to get the first contract he had to offer such a low price that he made a substantial loss. Given that the early stages of launching a new business are associated with great uncertainty and risk, the pressure to accede to a bribe at that stage must be especially intense. Under such circumstances, the need for a compelling reason to remain steadfast can easily be appreciated.

Early on in the formation of a new business, one can also see how the entrepreneur's faith might be severely tested and either to be found wanting or to grow, deepen, and increase in dependence on God. Such insights are necessarily preliminary. We plan to submit them to rigorous testing in relation to the complete sample.

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However, they would seem to confirm the expectation expressed above that Christian entrepreneurs in developing and emerging settings are fertile ground for novel insights, theory development, and for valuable extensions to the resource-based view. It is relatively seldom now that such a vast and seemingly promising research field as the one we have begun to explore here should be so neglected.

It is hoped that the small beginning represented by this article and the larger project behind it will serve a positive function in generating more interest in this field and indeed in spurring others to follow. The authors declare that they have no financial or personal relationship s that may have inappropriately influenced them in writing this article. University of Cape Town and P. University of Oxford were co-principle investigators in the SEVEN funded research project on Christian entrepreneurs in developing and emerging markets.

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They played a central role in defining the research questions and methodology, in testing it, and in overseeing the data collection by nineteen case study researchers. With regard to this article, they collaborated closely on its development and shared the work between them. Acemoglu, D. Barney, J. Boyle, A. Cao, N. Doing Business n. Duchrow, U. Eisenhardt, K. Gorringe, T. Howard, S. Lee, T. Leonard-Barton, D. Mayer, C. Marshall, P. Miller, D. Nash, L.


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North, D. Pruzan, P. Ramadan, T. Robinson, M. Schumpeter, J. Smith, A. Stackhouse, M. Stevenson, H. The World Bank n. Werner, A. Received: 17 July Accepted: 03 Feb. All the contents of this journal, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License.

Services on Demand Article. English pdf Article in xml format Article references How to cite this article Automatic translation. Access statistics. The concept of stewardship is synonymous with the role of management. Stewardship is management. It incorporates long-term direction-giving decisions and actions as well as short-term daily operational activities. How can a wise steward ignore long-term environmental effects, and be concerned only about printing bibles with ozone harmful inks?

Understanding the Individual - a Christian View. Although it is possible, and often happens in practice, that managers manage resources without having to manage 'human resources' [5] , it is normally considered that management includes the management of people. As the biblical view of the person clashes with that of contemporary management thought, we need to understand what the Bible has to say about man, as created by God, in order to grasp the concepts related to Christian management thought.

Contemporary management thought often refers to people as 'human resources' implying at best that humans are ranked equally with other resources such as money, land, raw materials and machines. The prevalent consideration is to keep workers satisfied, happy, and challenged so that they can contribute to a greater degree toward the organization's goal achievements. At worst, the implication of viewing people as human resources is that people are exploited, as other resources are exploited by business and industry in the pursuit of materialistic gain.

A biblical view of man is a fourfold view. Man is 1 created by God to be "God like" with both individuality and communality. However, man 2 choose to sin, to separate himself from God, and now has a fallen nature. But God provides 3 a way through Jesus to restore man to that which he was originally. This restoration process 4 is God's cause in the world and He invites man to participate. Man is a created being - created in the image of God Gen As, such he has value.

From this notion derives our human dignity" Sire: Psalm 8 supports this with the statement. You made him a little lower than heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: NIV. God not only created us as individuals He knows the number of hairs on one's head but also as communal people. It declares from the outset that each of us is unique and created in the image of God, but that the God in whose image we are made is communal. That is, at our core, we are social beings.

We were made for God; we were made for each other" Sire: We find several references in the Bible to support the communal aspect: "I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people" Lev , and "You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Our very diversity as men and women is a reflection of God's nature God himself is characterized by multiplicity" Sire Humans also require multiplicity. They require a community for a sense of belonging. A contrast to this is the individualism of Western views which Robert Bellah describes as follows: "the individual is prior to society, which comes into existence only through the voluntary contract of individuals trying to maximize their own self-interest" Bellah: in Sire The image of God involves human dignity, sexual differentiation, family, corporateness, and individuality Sirc The second aspect of the fourfold view is that man, using the power of choice given to him by God, chose to disobey his Creator Gen 3 and thereby made himself subject to sin.

Man chose to break some of the principles, which governed his appointment as steward. Instead of obeying the master's directives, he chose to serve self: "you will be like God and know what is good and what is bad" TEV:Gen Nations, families, and individuals are filled with a desire to make self a center.

Man longs to rule over his fellow men. Separating himself in his egotism from God and his fellow beings, he follows his unrestrained inclinations. He acts as if the good of others depended on their subjection to his supremacy" White: Selfishness destroys the image of God in man. Third, man's value in the sight of God is increased considerably by the sacrifice of Jesus' life in order to free man from sin. Humanity is now doubly precious - not only created, but now also bought back.

Now that there is a way Jesus said 'I am the way' for humanity to be freed from sin and its effects, there is a choice given to every individual to accept or reject the offer. Upon acceptance of the gift, redemption takes place. Lastly, the plan of redemption provides for restoring the damage done by sin to the person created in the image of God. Although the task will not be completed in this world, we as stewards have an important part in it.

Our part is not only in context of ourselves individually , but also our fellow man communally -family members, colleagues at work, fellow church members, society at large. We are to be participants in God's cause in the restoration of God's image in man physically, mentally, spiritually, relationally, and socially. The steward may become discouraged as 'results' are seldom seen.

However, encouragement is found in that his reward is not based on results but on the motive, the attitude in which the task was done. We were created good; we fell from our close relation with God; we have been redeemed by Christ; we are being glorified by the Holy Spirit" Sire Perspectives on Management. Serious study of management originated during the early 's with the recognition of the importance of organizing factory workers to improve their efficiency. Conditions in factories were grim. Work was organized in such a way that it was dehumanizing. There was little room for choice, tasks were routine and monotonous, and little social interaction took place.

Remuneration was based on 'the least the market would bear'. In some cases conditions deteriorated further as managers pursued economic goals at the cost of the worker by the introduction of child labor, unhealthy work environments, and the exploitation of the environment and other resources. Classical Perspective - Management pioneers like Frederick Taylor attempted to improve the lot of the worker through introducing methods that took their economic needs into consideration. Management had ignored these and concentrated only on economic gains. Techniques and methods were developed that allowed the worker to become more productive efficient , and at the same time increased his economic reward for his co-operation.

In this approach the worker is assumed to be a cog in the economic machine, and his behavior is as predictable as any machine's function based on its design. Motivation is by the carrot -and - the-stick tick method carrot in front, stick from behind , i. The manager is firmly in control over people. He knows what is best always, and therefore he is the one to make all the decisions - authoritarian management style. The emphasis on finding and using the most efficient method whether it was in organizing a factory, in selecting workers, or in doing a task, earned this management perspective the name scientific management.

The worldview displayed is based on materialistic, scientism and economistic ideologies. Management tools often used in conjunction with this approach include mathematical models, decision models, time and motion study, piecework pay incentives, etc. It must be made clear that the use of these tools are not inherently wrong, but the purpose for their use must be questioned. Human Relations Perspective - The Hawthorne studies jolted management into realizing that the human being consists of more than just a full stomach, but that he also had a social dimension - the need to be liked and respected, the need to belong.

It was found that workers responded to the social context of the workplace. Attempts were made to discover the make up of people Maslow, McGregor's X and Y theory based on the assumption that worker happiness the heart leads to improved performance. Management's dealings with workers were adjusted accordingly - kindness, courtesy, civility, and decency became the order of the day.

Yet, the manager is the one who knows best, and therefore makes decisions - he is now just a benevolent authoritarian. Attempts are made to develop harmonious teams or esprit de corps. Although the complexity of the human is recognized to some degree, it is grounded in a secular setting with no provision made for God's viewpoint on human potential. There are also practical problems as managers managing on these assumptions may become directionless as their decisions are based on their intense desire to belong.

A dichotomy arises - the manager is 'soft', but must make the decisions in an authoritarian manner. To resolve this, many managers have become kind, paternalistic managers - the kind father who knows best for his children. Management terms associated with this approach include human relations movement, and organizational behavior, but the perspective is usually called behavioral management. The attitude of management, often displayed when the manager finds that worker behavior or performance is not as expected, is "Look what I get after all that I have done for them.

Human Resources Perspective - Contemporary management has attempted to put together what was learnt from both scientific management and behavioral management, and come to realize that placing too much emphasis on only one perspective or approach brings poor results.

Several attempts have been made to provide a comprehensive model - operations management, systems approach to management, situational management. These attempts have endeavored to provide the manager with a framework in which the worker is seen as a valuable resource, which must be considered on an equal basis as other resources such as financial, environmental, raw materials, machinery, information systems. As a resource, a new dimension of the worker was being considered.

He is no longer a being with just physical, economic, and social needs, but he also has psychological and intellectual needs. He has talent, resourcefulness, ingenuity, imagination, and is able and eager to use these innovatively and to be recognized for using them. Management attempts then to tap this vitality and use it in furthering management's agenda because it has realized that people will do what is necessary if they are committed to a goal. Management delegates and "explores ways to create an optimal environment, a culture that taps their talents and releases their creative energy" Covey: A strongly humanistic ideology is present as management sees people as "bundles of latent talent and capacity.

Their goal would be to identify and develop this capacity to accomplish the objectives of the organization" Ibid. This enlarged perspective of humans is referred to as human resource management. Terminology associated with this perspective includes: Management by Objectives, Japanese approach to management Theory Z , managing for excellence Thomas Peters , participative management, quality circles, etc. As before, we find a broadened view of people involvement in an organization of which some of the ideas can be incorporated within a Christian perspective, but what must be questioned, is the worldview within which these techniques and management tools are used.

It is evident from the above discussion that there have been two emphases in management thought. First there are those that see management as consisting primarily of managing things, or resources, where techniques and methods are the primary tools used toward efficiency. Ellul elaborates on the idea of technique.

He views it as a mindset or a way of thinking. Sire illustrates how the drive to efficiency has restricted our thinking into set approaches to all aspects of life. Even the way we make decisions is structured according to the scientific rational method Griffin: [6]. No mention is made, or consideration given regarding the possibility of divine intervention, or consultation with God.

As a result "the ubiquitous use of technique to solve all problems has taken from us our heart and soul" Sire p. Caution should be exercised so as not to discard all technique but to view it in proper relation to other elements in the sphere of management. Second there are those that have emphasized the human element and who have shifted their perspective of management to reflect the changes in beliefs managers have held regarding the worker as a person.


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They have shifted from seeing the person in a physical context, to seeing him in a social context, to seeing him in a intellectual context. Yet management thought is striving to 'use the human resource efficiently and effectively toward goal attainment. The techniques, the quantitative tools, the computer models that are applied to the resources with exception of human resources can facilitate the efficiency drive toward objectives, but management techniques which attempt to make efficient use of the 'human resource' is likely to fail.

As Covey quite rightly states "you simply can't think efficiency with people. You think effectiveness with people and efficiency with things '' Covey: Toward A Christian Perspective. So far, in unfolding a Christian management perspective, we have outlined the flaws of historical and current management thought, we have explored the meaning of stewardship, and we investigated the significance of what man is. What is Christian management? I propose that a Christian approach to management should understand the role of management as that of steward servant leader [7] in a special sense who together with other God created people fellow stewards created in God's image , take care of resources also God-created and owned, and over which God gave man authority that have been entrusted to them for development toward God directed purposes and to the glory of God.

In this definition we find a the function, b the collaborators, c the resources, d the purpose, and e the method. This definition, if one could call it such, in essence establishes that just as every individual and family is placed on this earth to play a role in the plan of salvation, so every organization, whether business, manufacturer, farmer, or non-profit organization, has a similar role to fulfill. This provides the Christian businessman with a higher purpose than to make a profit. He, as a steward, has an integral part to play in God's cause in this world.

It provides the businessman a much higher meaning in life than material gain. As steward in the role of servant leader, he can now provide a spiritual dimension in the work place. Workers are not seen merely as physical beings with social and psychological needs, but as a fellow stewards not to be lorded over who have the same purpose in life - playing a role in the plan of salvation. This provides the worker in turn with real meaning in life. The 'manager' [8] has become a co-worker with God, and at the same time his attitude toward 'his workers' has changed as they are partners and fellow coworkers with God.

The resultant 'managerial' style may not be different from the participative managerial styles currently espoused by management theorists and consultants, but the crucial difference will be the motive behind the approach and the attitude prevalent in the organization organizational culture. Covey describes the desires of people as follows:. People want to contribute to the accomplishment of worthwhile objectives. They want to be part of a mission and enterprise that transcends their individual tasks.

They don't want to work in a job that has little meaning, even though it may tap their mental capacities. They want purposes and principles that lift them, ennoble them, inspire them, empower them, and encourage them to their best selves.