Islamic Work Ethics in an Ethnically and Culturally Diverse Context

Islamic work ethics refer to work-related behaviors and relations that are shaped by Islamic principles and values, such as individual effort, tolerance, dedication, commitment, social relations, creativity, and responsibility. Professionals should prioritize public interest when they have to choose between self-interest and public interest. The purpose of this study is to identify work value scales among teachers in Arab high schools in Israel. The indigenous Arab community is an ethnic and cultural minority in a Western-oriented, Jewish majority country. The school system is based on western educational and ethical paradigms. The work values of Arab high school teachers were measured using the Islamic Work Ethic (IWE) scales. The sample included 162 Arab high school teachers from northern Israel. The data were subjected to principal component factor analysis. Eight significant dimensions emerged: Tolerance, cooperation and consultation; Perfectionism and self-discipline; Competence and integrity; Personal responsibility and forgiveness; Industriousness; Trustworthiness; Fulfillment of commitments; and, Competitiveness. The eight dimensions together explained 48% of the total variance and were found to be reliable and practical measures for understanding the work-related values of Arab high school teachers. Further analysis showed that Arab high school teachers had relatively high mean scores on all eight Islamic work ethics dimensions. The study findings indicate that Arab high school teachers in Israel exhibit Islamic work values despite working in a Western-oriented educational system.

Islamic Ethics, Work Values, High School Teachers, Arab Education, Israel

Educational Organization and Leadership

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

  • Afnan Haj Ali
    • Graduate student, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel Israel
  • Prof. Ismael Abu-Saad
    • Professor, Education, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel Israel
    • Ismael Abu-Saad is a Professor of Educational Policy and Administration in the Department of Education, founding director of the Center for Bedouin Studies and Development, and the holder of the Abraham Cutler Chair in Education at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer-Sheva. He obtained his PhD from the University of Minnesota in 1989. His research interests include educational policy and development among indigenous peoples, Palestinian Arab education and higher education, social identity in heterogeneous societies, and organizational behavior in multicultural contexts. He has authored and edited over one hundred scientific publications.