Islamic work ethic among Arab college students in Israel

Mahmood Khalil, Ismael Abu-Saad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Purpose – The aim of this paper is to investigate the Islamic work ethic (IWE) and individualism among Arab college students in Israel, who represent an ethnic and religious minority in a western-oriented state. Design/methodology/approach – The participants included 837 male and female Arab college students from an academic and a technical college in northern Israel. Most participants (64 percent) were Academic college students. Two measures were used: the IWE and individualism scales developed by Ali. Correlation analysis and two-way multivariate analysis were used to analyze the data. Findings – There was a strong and highly significant correlation between the IWE and individualism scales. Academic college students scored significantly higher than technical college students on both scales. There were significant interactions between gender and marital status, and college type and year of studies, on the scales. Practical implications – Within the multi-cultural context of Arab college students in Israel, the IWE and individualism scales emerged as reliable, practical measures for understanding the work-related values of Arab college students in Israel. Originality/value – This study is the first in the published literature to use the IWE and individualism scales among Arab students who were not raised in a homogeneous Islamic cultural context. Although the Arab minority in Israel is exposed to Israeli and Western, as well as Islamic, cultural and organizational influences, IWE scale proved to be highly reliable for this population. The IWE and individualism scales, used together, were uniquely effective for capturing the many nuances of work-related values in this complex, multi-cultural context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-346
Number of pages14
JournalCross Cultural and Strategic Management
Issue number4
StatePublished - 23 Oct 2009


  • Behaviour
  • Islam
  • Israel
  • Students
  • Work ethic
  • Work identity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science


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