The relationship between wellbeing and religiosity in Turkish and UK employees
: perceptions of the quality of working life

  • Zeynep Mercan

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The general wellbeing (GWB) of employees is affected by various job, individual and related factors, including working conditions, job satisfaction, work-life balance and similar measures of an employee’s quality of working life (QoWL). These factors in turn can be affected by the set of overarching values that can give value and meaning to the work undertaken by employees. These values could come, in part, from the national or religious culture people grow-up in. Although there has been much research conducted on the quality of working life and wellbeing of employees, most of this research has been undertaken in western countries and based on western values. Very little of this research has been conducted on how the QoWL and wellbeing of workers is related to these values in a majority Islamic (e.g. Turkey) country, or have directly compared this to a non-Islamic or non-religious majority society (e.g. the UK).
To investigate this gap in the research, the present thesis addresses four main objectives: (i) to explore and understand the concept of the QoWL and wellbeing in employees working in Turkey; (ii) to determine the extent to which such values affect the QoWL and wellbeing of Turkish workers and whether this effect is influenced by the religiosity of workers; (iii) to investigate if the observed relationship between wellbeing and religiosity on these values can also be observed in UK employees and (iv) to determine if these values affect the wellbeing of Turkish and UK religious workers differently.
Both qualitative and quantitative designs were employed across the studies of this thesis. An initial study used semi-structured questions across six focus groups (n = 42 participants) and found evidence of religion and job characteristics having an impact on the wellbeing and work satisfaction of Turkish employees. Based on the results of this study, a survey containing questions about the QoWL and Islamic Work Ethic (IWE) values was then distributed to Turkish employees (n= 453). A translated and adapted version of this survey was then used to examine the same aspects of a UK sample of employees (n= 481). In the final stage of the project, the data for the Turkish and UK workers were compared to come to an understanding of how IWE values differentially influenced the experience of work and general wellbeing of these employees. The qualitative data were analysed using applied thematic analysis and the quantitative data was analysed using structural equation modelling.
The results indicated that IWE values indirectly affected the General Wellbeing (GWB) of highly religious Turkish workers, as well as, somewhat surprisingly, for both religious and nonreligious UK workers. When only religious employees from the two countries were compared, it was found that the relationship between IWE and GWB was mediated by different job characteristics. For example, whilst Work-Life Balance was a strong mediator for Turkish religious workers, Job-Career Satisfaction was the strongest mediator between IWE and GWB for religious UK workers. The findings of this thesis contribute to the literature of several disciplines including occupational psychology, business ethics, management, and wellbeing, and provide an important insight into how workers’ work ethic values relate to their wellbeing and how this relationship is relevant to HR practitioners.
Date of AwardJul 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Portsmouth
SupervisorZarah Vernham (Supervisor) & Darren Van Laar (Supervisor)

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