"A job interview for Mo, but none for Mohammed": Religious discrimination against immigrants in Austria and Germany

Ingo Forstenlechner, Mohammed A. Al-Waqfi

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    30 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine workplace discrimination in the context of immigrant employees and job seekers, with a specific focus on perceived discrimination resulting from affiliation with a specific religious group. Design/methodology/approach: A total of 40 Muslim immigrants in two host countries were interviewed regarding their perception of discrimination and the consequences for their workplace experience. For the analysis, responses were clustered to identify emerging themes using NVivo. Findings: Results indicate that Muslim immigrants encounter treatment at the workplace that they perceive as discriminatory. On the other hand, findings show high levels of commitment where employees were not discriminated against - contrary to their almost inherent expectations that they would be. Research limitations/implications: Because of the exploratory nature of this study, the results need to be treated with caution. The small sample size may limit the generalisability of findings. Also, it is possible that both religion and race/ethnicity are confounded in causing the reported incidents of perceived discrimination. Practical implications: Beyond moral or ethical considerations, workplace discrimination has a negative impact on employee motivation and performance. Accommodation of basic religious needs can significantly improve commitment to the employer at virtually no cost. Originality/value: To the best of the authors's knowledge there are a limited number of studies in previous literature looking at employment discrimination in the context of religious affiliation. There are very few studies addressing perceived workplace discrimination against Muslims.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)767-784
    Number of pages18
    JournalPersonnel Review
    Volume39
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 30 2010

    Keywords

    • Austria
    • Discrimination
    • Employees
    • Germany
    • Perception
    • Religion

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Applied Psychology
    • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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