Management International Review

, Volume 59, Issue 2, pp 277–305 | Cite as

A Leap of Faith? Managerial Religiosity And Market Entry Decisions

  • Christopher RichardsonEmail author
  • Shaizatulaqma Kamalul Ariffin
Research Article


Religious observance remains widespread and thus potentially influential in managerial decision-making, yet its impact on market entry decisions is largely unexplored. This study investigates the effect of managerial religiosity on the three key entry decisions of where, when, and how to internationalise. Based on the verbal protocols of fourteen Malaysian Muslim executives who are considering international expansion, we find that higher levels of religiosity neither led to preferences for other Muslim-majority markets nor significantly influenced ‘when’ and ‘how’ decisions. Nevertheless, our findings demonstrate that religious factors matter in quite different and unexpected ways. In particular, the presence of co-religious minority groups in an otherwise ‘religiously-distant’ market can influence entry decisions among religiously observant managers. Our study therefore yields a new and important insight into entry decisions, namely the role played by managerial religiosity.


Religiosity Religion Entry decisions Internationalisation 



We thank the three anonymous reviewers for their careful reading of the paper and the invaluable insights and suggestions they provided. We also gratefully acknowledge Aidi Zulkarnain Md Nor for his support and assistance in the study. This research was supported by a Short-Term Grant [304/PPAMC/6313114] from Universiti Sains Malaysia.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of BusinessUniversiti Sains MalaysiaPulau PinangMalaysia

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