photo of churchBaylor University sociologists Jerry Park, Jenna Rogers, Mitchell Neubert, and Kevin Dougherty released a new study looking at the role of congregations in encouraging healthy work attitudes. Their study uses data collected from 1022 respondents in Baylor’s National Survey of Work, Entrepreneurship, and Religion conducted in 2010.

Park and his team looked at affective organizational commitment, job satisfaction, and entrepreneurial behavior, as measured by Monty Lynn, et al.’s, Faith at Work Scale.  The scores on these values were compared to the ratings on a Congregational Faith at Work Scale that measures the value the respondents believe their place of worship places on their daily work, and to measures of church attendance.

The study found that there tended to be higher ratings for affective organizational commitment and job satisfaction if the respondent’s congregation placed a higher value on work and the respondent had higher involvement with the congregation (as measured by attendance).  If either element was missing (less importance placed on work by the congregation or less frequent attendance) then there appeared to be no positive benefit.

The results concerning entrepreneurial behavior were more difficult to read.  Entrepreneurs on average tend to be more religious but attend worship services less frequently (possibly due to time pressure), making it harder to draw the same types of comparisons.

The conclusion seems to be that churches can help people have a healthier relationship to their work if the church places a high value on the members’ daily work and if the members attend frequently.

The study (“Workplace-Bridging Religious Capital: Connecting Congregations to Work Outcomes”) was published in the Summer issue of the Sociology of Religion (Oxford University Press), pp. 309-331.  Unfortunately, it is behind an expensive paywall.