Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to examine and compare the meaning of work (MOW) according to religiosity among Jews and Muslims in Israel. The paper attempts to explain the similarities and the differences between the two ethno-religious groups. Design/methodology/approach
‐ In 2006 the MOW questionnaire was conducted on 1,464 working respondents and the final sample included 898 Jews and 215 Muslims, representing the labor force. The MOW dimensions were: work centrality, intrinsic orientation, economic orientation and interpersonal relations. Findings
‐ While among Jews, religiosity degree affected all four dimensions of the MOW, there were no differences among Muslims with a different religiosity degree concerning all MOW dimensions, except for the economic orientation. Furthermore, among Muslims when religiosity is controlled,
the other demographic variables do not influence the MOW domination. Practical implications ‐ This additional knowledge of the relationship between religion, religiosity and the MOW, can help to better understand the employee's needs and how to fulfil them (e.g. implementing
"Diversity Management" programs). This suitability will eventually lead to more desirable work outcomes. Social implications ‐ Governmental policy can lead to higher participation of orthodox Jews in the labor market. Moreover, the extra-high work centrality among
Arab Muslims reflects a high non-actualized potential for organizations and for the Israeli economy in general. Originality/value ‐ There are no studies that compared work values of Jews and Muslims according to religiosity, in and out of Israel, and this paper explores
the MOW of the ethno-religious groups in Israel and the causes for the different patterns.