entrepreneurs pray more frequently, are more likely to see God as
personal and are more likely to attend services in congregations that
encourage business and profit-making, according to a study by Baylor
University scholars of business and sociology.
Their research, published in the current issue of the Journal for the
Scientific Study of Religion, is an analysis of data from the ongoing
Baylor Religion Survey. A total of 1,714 adults chosen randomly from
across the country answered more than 300 items in the survey, designed
by Baylor scholars and administered by the Gallup Organization in 2010.
The study is part of a larger research project on religion and
entrepreneurship funded by the National Science Foundation.
Entrepreneurs are categorized in the study as those who have started a
new business or who are trying to do so, said Kevin Dougherty, Ph.D., an
associate professor of sociology in Baylor's College of Arts & Sciences.
When it comes to entrepreneurs' concept of God, "they tend to think of
God as a more personal, interactive being, and that is tightly related
to why they pray more frequently," Dougherty said.
That finding raises interesting questions, said Mitchell J. Neubert,
Ph.D., associate professor and Chavanne Chair of Christian Ethics in
Business in Baylor's Hankamer School of Business.
The study raises interesting considerations for faith communities.
Because of the country's "competitive religious market," congregations
specialize to attract and retain individuals. Catering to
entrepreneurial individuals may offer "a competitive advantage," the
Other questions the study raises are whether entrepreneurs pick a
congregation that matches their entrepreneurial orientation -- and
whether a faith community can help prepare someone for entrepreneurship.
Neubert noted that entrepreneurs are critical to communities in terms of
jobs and stimulating the economy. Both entrepreneurs and churches share
goals of reaching out to the community, and they might benefit from
is religion related to entrepreneurial behavior? And more importantly,
why?" the article asks. "Equally fascinating, how do religious
individuals engaged in business creation reconcile the teachings of
their faith on material gain with their entrepreneurial endeavors?
Prompted by these initial findings, we hope others will join us to
expand understanding of if, how and why, religion and entrepreneurial
*The research is part of the "National Study of Entrepreneurial Behavior
and Religion." Funding for the research came from the National Science
Foundation. Other researchers were Jerry Z. Park, Ph.D., an associate
professor of sociology at Baylor, and Jenna Griebel, a doctoral
candidate in sociology at Baylor.
The article, "A Religious Profile of American Entrepreneurs," is
published in the current issue of the Journal for the Scientific Study
of Religion, volume 52, issue 2.