Academy of Strategic Management Journal (Print ISSN: 1544-1458; Online ISSN: 1939-6104)

Research Article: 2020 Vol: 19 Issue: 2

The Impact of Islamic Work Ethics on Job Performance with Mediating Role of Intrinsic Motivation

Jamal Ahmed Al-Douri, Al-Ahliyya Amman University

Issam Aldabbagh, Al-Ahliyya Amman University

May Mousa Mohammed, Al-Ahliyya Amman University

Rasha A.A. Qawasmeh, Al-Ahliyya Amman University


The purpose of this study is to explore the impact of Islamic work ethics (IWE) on job performance (JP) and intrinsic motivation (IM). In this study also tries to examine intrinsic motivation as a mediating role among IWE and JP. Non-probability sampling technique was used. Questionnaires were distributed among teaching staff of different universities located in Malaysia. Data is processed using SPSS for statistics analysis. The outcome of this study shows that there was positive relationship between IWE, JP and IM. The result founding state that the idea of IWE as a therapy for the emergent ethical crisis of Malaysian education sector which should be saturated in culture of organization for sustainable growth and JP. Also result funding indicate that IM was playing positive mediating role among IWE and JP. In the conclusion, implication of the study and future study are also discussed.


Islamic Work Ethics (IWE), Intrinsic Motivation (IM), Job Performance (JP), Malaysia.


IWE establishes expectations of Islam’s with admiration to behavior of individual at work place which comprises his or her exertion, responsibility dedication, social relations creativity and cooperation. Fundamentally, when someone has a strong association with God, one’s attitudes and behaviors would tend to be reliable with the rubrics and circumstances of the religion (toward financial and non-financial rewards, and the ambition for upward career mobility (Rahman et al., 2006). Contrary work ethic, in specific, is supposed to replicate someone attitude towards numerous features of work, containing preference for activity and participation, approaches. According to Rawwas et al. (2007), the theory was developed that explain the differentiation between ethics and IWE. In direction to make decision ethically, the core three aspects come to human mind: organizational relationships, values and moral philosophies. Protestant work ethics (PWE) was introduced by McClelland (1961) which is founded on the ideas in Christianity and rules. Simon (2008) argued that Islam and Christianity both are unlike in beliefs because Islam is completely based on Quran and Hadith but Christianity is purely based on the adapted Bible. Therefore, Rokhman (2010) argue that PWE is not applicable and effective in Islamic civilizations. Ali (1988) also recommended that IWE is one of the emerging areas in Islamic world. Afterward, several Muslim scholars tries to investigate on IWE because Islam has its own social, economic and political system.

Job satisfaction in one sense is expressed as happiness and satisfaction of main needs in the workplace. Job satisfaction in which is the employee's positive feeling toward the job, is the result of factors such as working conditions, job organizational discipline, the relations governing the working environment and the impact of cultural factors. Leaders of Organizations face to some major sources for catching their goals: Equipment, Machinery and production tools, Money And Capital and workforce in organization, for efficient use of these sources managers use different mechanisms, for example, in order to keep and maintain production tools and machineries, they use the system of maintaining and repairing spending a lot of money for this end every year. Therefore they try to access to the latest Information at the part of technology, but despite of all efforts and endeavors in order to keep, optimize and change the machineries and technology unfortunately they disregard the human source as the most basic and fundamental source. For this purpose, this study aims to investigate the relationship of Islamic working ethics and job performance organizational outcomes emphasizing the mediating role of internal motivation.

Job satisfaction is positive feeling on someone’s performance which is from the evaluation result on his characteristics. Job satisfaction portrays attitude more than behavior. A belief that employees who feel satisfied is more productive than those who do not feel satisfied. An individual who has high job satisfaction will show positive attitude toward his performance, while an individual who does not feel satisfied will show negative attitude toward his performance.

All systems that dealing with moral problems covers a perfect emphasis on raising goodness to the manner and avoiding immoral manner (Mohammad & Quoquab, 2016). Different Studies found on IWE that has significant effect on different outcomes which contain employees’ wellbeing, organizational citizenship behavior, job satisfaction, job involvement intention to leave and organizational change (Javaid et al., 2018; ud Din & Farooq 2017; Ahmad, 2011; Khalil & Abu-Saad, 2009; Khan et al., 2015; Mohamed et al., 2010; Murtaza et al., 2016).

bin Salahudin et al. (2016) IWE is an inclusive, moderate and quoted four issues from literature that the holy Prophet (PBUH) had stressed work as: 1- if not performed with highest ability is a not sanction, 2 – highest type worship, 3, community should also get reasonable living standards and wealth from carrying on business, 4 – must also be in others’ benefit like peace of social dimension (Shahbaz et al., 2019). IWE bring moderation which means moderate work thinking in work ethics, in contrast of ultra-idealists thinking human beings, like angels and ultra-realist observing human beings as animals.

Gap of the Study

Malaysia is largest Islamic country, located at a very imperative geographic position of the Muslims domain. Most of the researches conducted in telecom, banking and health sector but study on IWE are inadequate especially in academic education sector. The most essential motive for conducting this study is to focus the relationships between IWE, job performance in respect of Universities in Malaysia. This study also inspects the mediating role of IM in the association between IWE and job performance (Shahbaz et al., 2019). If personnel are gratified with their work it will improve the performance of employees along with organizational performance having important effects on the organization. Based on literature, this relationship has not yet been investigated in the prevalent conditions and less studies have been conducted. This study will fill the gap particularly in the circumstance of Malaysia.

Literature Review

Islamic Work Ethics (IWE)

Ajmal & Irfan (2014) indicated that the word IWE has been taken from Webber’s theory protestant work ethics. The Divine bases of Quran and Sunnah direct the best of morals in socioeconomic life. “You are the best of peoples, forbidding what is wrong, enjoining what is right, and believing in ALLAH” evolved for mankind, (Quran.3:110). “And let there be from you a group welcoming to all to that is better (khair), enjoining what is right (maruf) and avoiding what is immoral (munkar)” (Qurān 3:104). IWE is the base that determines the engagement and participation of the worshippers in the place of work (Ali & Al-Owaihan, 2008). IWE upsurges in an employee intrinsic motivation to job and consequently he feels happiness in his work and is extremely satisfy with his job (Shahbaz et al., 2019). IWE incorporate social connections between the organization and groups in the light of the Islamic guideline of work setting (Rahman et al., 2006). The researchers have studied the various cultural environments in IWE during past two decades. The association of work ethics with intrinsic motivation, Turnover intention, job performance and further related organization variables have got enormous consideration in the literature (Noviantoro et al., 2018; Durrani, 2017; Zahrah et al., 2016; Hayati & Caniago, 2012). Rizk (2008) postulated that IWE is a motivated and orientation towards work belief and approaches which work as a virtue in life of human. IWE is actually built on the education of Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) who signified that hard work gives the released from sins and the bequest of the four Caliphs of Islam (Ali & Weir, 2005; Rizk, 2008). Muslim researchers also identify the importance of IWE in the modern era, as it became part of Islamic thoughts which is valuable to everyone in the society. Ali & Al-Owaihan (2008), categorized the work that is connected with Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) sayings into eleven branches that are the quality of work, significance of earning wealth, self-dependence wages, deeds and intentions bribery, practicing lawful business, monopoly, greed, transparency and kindness. They argued that Holy Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) clearly explain that to his followers that better work in society is that which give benefit to peoples. The Prophet PBUH also specified that “Worshiping have seventy tracks, and the good one is the participation in fairly earned living’’. Meaning that, work is the best method of worshiping (Shahbaz et al., 2018). The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) indorsed the people and their work to the upper most level if their activities assist others. He said: “The finest work is the one that outcomes in benefit” and “The greatest of people are those who advantage others”.

Job Performance (JP)

JP mentions to how an individual can achieve his or her work. JP can be defined as all the conducts that the employee involves at their work. The effort in sustaining the excellence level of JP have been broadly considered, either by organizations itself or researchers. JP increases by IWE (Hassan et al., 2017; Gong et al., 2009; Gilson & Ruddy, 2005) though, investigate in adequate consideration on how IWE increases intrinsic motivation. Al-Khasawneh et al. (2015), explain that Allah (SWA) insisted in different verses of Holy Quran the need and giving same wages and not to be biased, according to performance and quantity of work the employees should paid fair wages. The administration system of Islam is an expanding pasture in the field of management sciences and by adopting ethical structure organization can improve their performance and work more efficiently (Abdi et al., 2014). Employees for any organization are the most essential assets and their conduct not only effects themselves but also affects the JP as well as organizational performance (Aslam, 2012).

Intrinsic Motivation (IM)

IM refers to feelings of satisfaction and pleasure from execution the behavior at workplace (Vallerand, 1997). IM inspires ideal functioning and optimistic states by declining depression and anxiety (Kasser & Ryan, 1996). Motivation which is a drive or push that energizes the individual to work harder and at the same time be satisfied with the job has been proved to have significant effect on job satisfaction. Thus, indorsing IM at work can make positive affective states among teachers which will slope them to develop better relationship with students. IM also leads to good mental happiness which in turn can better teachers’ interpersonal relations and self-esteem between teachers and students (Kasser & Ryan, 1996). It is true that motivated librarians are more likely to be satisfied with their job, and this, in turn, will have effect on the librarians’ achievement, performance and organizational success. In addition, the reward and compensation in general and the material incentive system, in particular, affects the motivation of teaching staff working in different universities. IM is the set of forces that initiate, directing and keep people in their efforts to achieve goals (Bono & Judge, 2003; Argyris, 1973). Intrinsic motivation inspires positive affective conditions and optimal functioning by reducing nervousness and depression (Kasser & Ryan, 1996).

Islamic Work Ethics Relationship with Job Performance

The association between IWE and JP was investigated by Hayati & Caniago (2012) and correlation was found positive between them (r =0.642, p<0.01). Though, this research also gives the theoretical reasoning to clarify this association. Another study conducted by Imam et al. (2013), the IWE influence on JP by likening two unlike models of personality X and Y. The affiliation between IWE and JP was positive significant as the results of correlation analysis of this study suggested (i.e., r=0.770, p<0.005). Further regression analysis specified for personality X and Y, there were 55%, 56% increases in JP because of IWE. They coped that IWE was a better predictor of JP for both personality X and personality Y. No more explanation was given to back consequences (Shahbaz et al., 2018).

The study of Awan et al. (2014) shows that IWE have an important positive link with JP (r = 0.34, p<0.01). Data was gathering from personnel employed in different government sector organization. Regression analysis of this study revealed that IWE significant effect and increase job performance of employee by 34%. IWE guideline in order to attain great goals and values of job performance in the domain of business. Organizational institutions for the corporate sector organization comprise the combination of IWE in corporate management to develop the job as well as the performance of organization to achieve sustainability along with the growing will and potency to affect the management performance.

Islamic management system is a growing meadow and by accepting ethical structure organization can improve their performance and also work more efficiently (Abdi et al., 2014).

H1 Islamic Work Ethics have positive significance effect on the Job Performance.

Islamic Work Ethics and Intrinsic Motivation

IWE is associated to essential job linked procedures and outcomes like motivation, organizational commitment, job performance and job satisfaction. (Berings et al., 2004). According to Ryan & Tipu (2016) values and work ethics such as multidimensional work morals can be main predictors in job inspiration. In a new research, they explain the association between ethics, return on investment and job satisfaction through theory of organizational justice influencing the employee’s opinion of equality, organizational efficiency and job orientation. From this viewpoint, personnel who observe their organization to be moral and following to the morals are more possible to feel their organization treat them justly. In return, this is probably to rise their level of job happiness and commitment, which, along with an optimistic behavior towards the work as well as organization, leads to effort towards the understanding of organizational objectives and a strong aspiration to retain with their organization (Rokhman, 2010). The study of Nithyanandan (2010), also indicated that a group having high Protestant level of work ethic (PWE) had also high level of IM.

As, Hayati & Caniago (2012) also suggested, that IWE had a meaning fully significant association with intrinsic motivation. Consequently, if employee treated IWE with more esteem, a higher level of IM can be expectable of them. In the study, it was specified that IM had a well prognostic role in significant volunteer gratification. IM is followed by greater job gratification and a lesser need to quit job, Pierce (1983). IWE is significantly related by intrinsic motivation. (i.e, r=0.393, p=0.01), stated by (Zaman et al., 2013). The study also provides practical evidences that there is positive supported correlation between IM and IWE.

H2 Islamic Work Ethics have positive significance effect on the Intrinsic Motivation.

Intrinsic Motivation and Job Performance

Prior studies inspect IWE and its effect on job satisfaction (JS) and commitment (Rokhman & Omar, 2008). This study extended IWE by analysis its effect on JP, JS, IM and organizational commitment. In the past studies suggested that there is positive significant relationship between job satisfaction and IM (Ahmed et al., 2012; Karatepe & Tekinkus, 2006). IM has significant influence on organizational commitment (Mohsan et al., 2011; Karatepe & Tekinkus, 2006). Similarly, IM also influences the job performance of teaching staff (Oluseyi & Ayo, 2009; Mundhra, 2010). Rokhman & Omar (2008) investigate that IWE is the positive technique which can positively effects on employee commitment and similarly positive JP also affects the job satisfaction (Ahmed et al., 2012). IWE enhance performance of the employees toward higher side which spread for the social welfare proposed by Ali & Al-Owaihan (2008).

H3 Intrinsic Motivation has positive significance effect on Job performance.

Mediating Effect of Intrinsic Motivation

IM states to doing something which given internally satisfaction because of it is integrally enjoyable or interesting. Previous study specifies that those employees who are more satisfied due to intrinsic motivation are more performance to their job (Mundhra, 2010; Mohsan et al., 2011). Hayati & Caniago (2012) investigates that JS and IM moderate the association among IWE, JP and employee commitment can be deliberated a main influence of their study. Further, their results show that the IWE better effect on intrinsic motivation and also pragmatic results of their research propose IM and JS moderates the association of the IWE on JP and employee’s commitment in organization. Another important study led by Sadozai et al. (2013) between IWE and employee’s JS mediating role of IM. This study shows one mediating effect and three direct effects. Mediating variable indicates partial mediation and but the all direct effects have an important impact with each variable.

H4 Intrinsic Motivation mediates the association between Islamic work ethics and Job Performance

Figure 1: Conceptual model of the Study

Research and Methodology

The study used quantitative research methods, with the variables: Islamic work ethics, job satisfaction and intrinsic motivation. The questionnaires were validated for appropriateness by applying theoretically derived hypothesis involving the concept under consideration through the conceptual framework of the study. The questionaries’ were coded and entered into excel data sheet for adoption into the SPSS for analysis of correlation and regression. Data was gathering from 310, faculty members working in different universities situated in Malaysia, through adopted questionnaires. Data was gathering by using convenience sampling method which is the easiest and simple technique. IWE scales was used having 17 items on 5-point likert scale which range from strongly disagree to strongly agree and the scale was developed. The Cronbach’s alpha of IWE items was 0.80. The IWE scale has also used by many research scholars like Javaid et al. (2018); Rokhman (2010); and Haroon et al. (2012). Intrinsic motivation scale was developed by Furnham (2005) having 6-item scale on 5-point likert scale. The alpha Cronbach’s for the constructs of IM was 0.84. Job performance item was established by Goodman, which consists of 9 items scale on 5-point likert scale. The alpha Cronbach’s for the constructs of JP was 0.76. Among different faculty members 390 questionnaires were distributed and 310 questionnaires were received. The male respondents were 180 (58%) while female respondent was 130 (41%).

In the age group, 36 respondents (11.6%) were in category below 26 years, 186 respondents (60%) were in 31-45 years while 88 respondents (28.38%) were in the group of age more than 50 years. Level of education, the percentage of graduate and total number of workers were 20 and 6.5 percent respectively. The respondents who have education in Master was 204 (65.80%), M.Phil. were 19(6.12%) and Ph.D. was 87 (28.06 %) respectively. SPSS was used for statistical tests.

Results and Discussion

Demographic Analysis

Table 1 shows the university wise demographic of the respondent’s.

Table 1: Demographic of the Respondents
No. University Respondents %
1 Universiti Malaya (UM) 33 11
2 Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) 21 7
3 Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) 31 10
4 Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) 26 8
5 Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) 15 5
6 Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Malaysia (UIAM) 29 9
7 Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) 26 8
8 Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) 16 6
9 Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) 25 8
10 Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI) 23 7
11 Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM) 28 9
12 Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) 19 6
13 Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM) 18 6
  Total 310 100

Regression Analysis

Table 2 signifies correlation, all variables are positively related with each other.

Table 2: Correclation Matrix
Correlation Matrix
Variables Islamic Work Ethics Job Performance Intrinsic Motivation
Islamic Work Ethics 1    
Job Performance 0.36*** 1  
Intrinsic Motivation 0.48*** 0.72*** 1

Table 3, explain the direct relation between variables by testing regression analysis. The result of regression analysis is positive significance because regression coefficient p-value is (β = 0.36, p<0.001) which clarifies that when one unit rise in IWE, 0.36 unit will be increases in JP in higher education sector of Malaysian universities. The coefficient of determination value (R2 = 0.14) defines that 14% variations occurs between IWE and JP at workplace in universities. The t-value in this study at p <0.001 gives evidence that the association between Job performance (JP) and IWE at workplace in the target population were positively significant. Hence, it proves that H1 is accepted. The association between IWE and IM is positive significant as the results of the study shown. Regression coefficient value (β = 0.46, p<0.001) clarified that 0.46, unit increases in IM increase with one unit in the IWE in universities of Malaysia. The coefficient of determination value (R2 = 0.24,) shows that 24 % variations occurs between IWE and IM at the work place in universities. Hence, hypothesis-2 is accepted. The consequences of this study more shown significant association between IM and JP. The regression coefficient value of this study explored strongly significant (i.e. β =0.72, p <0.001) which clarified that 0.72 unit increase in the IM with increase one unit in the JP in the universities. The coefficient of determination value (R2 = 0.55) explain that 55% variation present between IM and JP at work place. The outcomes of the research indicate, that the IM enhances JP. Hence, it proves that H3 is accepted.

Table 3: Linear Regression (Direct Relationship)
Linear Regression
Models β R2 t-value p-value F-value
Model 1 Job Performance
Islamic Work Ethics
0.36 0.14 7.02 0.000 49.15***
Model 2 Intrinsic Motivation
Islamic Work Ethics
0.46 0.24 9.55 0.000 19.17***
Model 3 Job Performance
Intrinsic Motivation
0.72 0.55 19.15 0.000 366.41***

Analysis of Mediation

In Table 4, indicate the IM role as a mediator between IWE and JP. The method recommended by Barron & Kenny (1986) to test this hypothesis. In this study hierarchal regression used to test this hypothesis. In phase-1 the direct relationship of Islamic work ethics with JP was analyzed. In phase-2 direct relationship between IWE and IM was analyzed. In phase-3 direct association between IM and JP were analyzed. In phase-4 the relationships of IWE (IV) with JS (DV) through IM (Mediating) were analyzed.

Table 4: Mediation Analysis
Variables β R2 ∆R2 t-value p-value F-value
Step: 1 Job Performance
Islamic Work Ethics
0.36 0.14 - 7.02 0.00 49.15***
Step: 2 Intrinsic Motivation
Islamic Work Ethics
0.46 0.24 - 9.55 0.00 19.17***
Step 3: Job Performance
Intrinsic Motivation
0.72 0.55 - 19.15 0.00 366.41***
Step 4: Job Performance
Intrinsic Motivation
0.71     16.54 0.00  
Islamic Work Ethics 0.02 0.55 0.40 0.56 0.59 182.96***

IM as a Mediator role between IWE and JP

Table 4; explain the relationships between IWE and JP and intrinsic motivation as mediator. When chief effect of IWE was tested with Job performance, the results shows that IWE significantly predicted JP with (β=0.36, p< 0.01). The consequences shown that when IM playing as a mediating variable into the equation the impact of IWE on JP was decreased to (β =0.02, p<0.01).

Hence, existence of IM, IWE value of regression coefficient with JP, IWE has becomes in significant (i.e., β =0.02) which shows IM as a partial mediation. The positively significant value of regression coefficient (i.e., β = 0.72, p < 0.01) clarified that 0.72-unit improvement in JP with increasing one unit in the IM in higher education sector of Malaysia. Hence, H-4 is also accepted. The consequences of study show that IWE improve the JP, provide information about the better work, behaviors and attitudes, as well as distinguish bad and good employees. Holy Quran give the concept of IWE as well as it also based on Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H). Thus, the hypothesis-4 is confirm that IM mediates the association between IWE and JP.


The key purpose of the study is to search IWE association to JP and IM. Results of the study suggest that an organization can do work efficiently by accepting a moral conceptual framework which is based on Islamic standards which guides and also helps the teaching staff of the universities in undertaking their job appropriately. The results of the study are aligned with previous results. These results show that those employees who are more motivated intrinsically with their job are more gratified to their organization. Intrinsic motivation and job performance are significant and positive and is harmonized with the results of prior researches. These results show that those employees are more gratified with their job who are intrinsically motivated and they will perform their job efficiently.

Job satisfaction is really needed by private companies and Government Company as development of organization orients to the future challenge in facing the competitor. Job satisfaction has a future existence which depends on human resource, so the company must provide environment to the employees, sustainable and integrated with the other activities of human resource. The implication for organizations is that the more employees know how to do their jobs better the more they are able to do their jobs and remain loyal to their employer.

This Study suggest that the effects of IWE on the JP and IM is strongly significant. This study found numerous results that not only affect the IWE directly on JP and IM but, it also IM also effect as a mediator among these variables. This study fills the gap in Malaysian perspective particularly and must be cooperative for the teaching staff of the universities who may construct and enhance their skills to assess teaching staff behavior that are satisfied and loyal with their job. If workers are gratified with their job, it will enhance the employees’ performance along with an organizational performance with the having optimistic and momentous influence on the organization. IWE, JP and IM are important factors for universities and without the presence of these factors’ organization may not be operate properly. The practical implication of this study can help to rise faithfulness with universities, by increasing their level of satisfaction about their job which eventually leads to less job stress, exhaustion and also lesser turnover intention.