It is a general assumption that Religious Organisations (ROs) are driven by religious beliefs and values, whilst multinational corporations (MNCs) are considered to be concerned about their profits, their share price and their reputation. When ROs invest in capital markets, they participate in modern economy and thereby enter a sensitive spectrum of ethical dilemmas. Since ethics is the core business of ROs, they cannot maintain a situation in which their investment portfolio would be in contradiction with those ethics. MNCs on the other hand are operating in the same modern economy, whereby - in their aim for profits and growth - they too have to deal with the ethical dilemmas that occur due to the nature and expansion of their business and the different cultural contexts in which they operate. Business managers and religious investors struggle to define the roles and responsibilities of MNCs when the products and/or activities they provide or invest in have considerable impact on society. The common assumption would be that - in an era of Corporate Responsibility (CR) – the two types of organisations can be positioned at the different ends of the scale from money to ethics. This study provides insight into the struggles of MNCs and ROs and builds on theory that can be used by business and investment managers that have an influence on society through the means of their activities. The study does not compare MNCs with ROs but demonstrates how MNCs - being confronted with social issues - and ROs, being concerned with similar social issues and investing in MNCs, deal with these issues in an era of increased CR. This dissertation is a compilation of several sub-studies that - as a whole - provide insight into the black-box of decision-making of managers and investors in the context of business ethics. The popular assumptions are validated and a more sophisticated understanding of the two different actors manoeuvring in the fields of finance and ethics is provided throughout this doctoral thesis.

Additional Metadata
Promotor L.C.P.M. Meijs (Lucas) , R.J.M. van Tulder (Rob) , D. Arenas (Daniel)
Publisher Erasmus University Rotterdam
ISBN 978-90-5892-439-1
Persistent URL
Series ERIM Ph.D. Series Research in Management
van Cranenburgh, K.C. (2016, June 23). Money or Ethics (No. EPS-2016-385). ERIM Ph.D. Series Research in Management. Erasmus University Rotterdam. Retrieved from