Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor's Name

Chockalingam Viswesvaran

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Valentina Bruk-Lee

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Stefany Coxe

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Hock-Peng Sin

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


Workplace Religious Expression, Religion, Workplace, Organizational Attractiveness

Date of Defense



In the 21st century we desire to express who we are across all domains – including the workplace. This is due, in part, to the fact that we spend more time at work than we ever have. Part of this awakening has included expressing our religion. However, while people desire to express their religion they simultaneously do not want to be impinged upon by other’s religious expression - as numerous legal cases demonstrate (Malone, Hartman, & Payne, 1998). This contrast is the basis for an ever-burgeoning conflict in the workplace for which HR managers have no legal or philosophical framework to guide them. Research on this subject has been scant with even the tenets of workplace religious expression remaining unquantified. This dissertation has taken steps to quantify workplace religious expression and delineate some of its boundaries, providing HR leaders with at least a light to show the path to navigating this conundrum.

This dissertation consists of three studies which examine how potential applicants view an organization when its representatives (i.e., job interviewer) express their religion. Dependent variable in these studies was organizational attractiveness. Independent variables include interviewer’s race (Indian vs Caucasian) and type of religious display exhibited by interviewer (Christian vs. Hindu vs. no religion). I explore three additional boundary conditions that could affect applicant reactions to religious displays including organization type (Study 1) – secular organization vs. an organization that operates in accordance with its leader’s spiritual beliefs, interviewer’s position (Study 2) – HR manager vs. department manager vs. store manager, and amount of expected coworker interaction (Study 3) – very little vs. high. Results show participants view organizations less positively when an interviewer exhibits Christian displays. While organization type did not impact this outcome, participants did react more negatively to Christian displays with high coworker interaction or if the interviewer was a department manager. However, these effects only held true with a white interviewer. These results suggest interviewer’s race and anticipated amount of coworker/leader interaction have a combined effect on how applicants view an organization whose representatives display their religion. Implications for research and future directions are discussed.





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