Exploring the Ethical Identity of Islamic Banks via Communication in Annual Reports

Journal of Business Ethics 76 (1):97-116 (2007)
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Abstract

Islamic Banks (IBs) are considered as having ethical identity, since the foundation of their business philosophy is closely tied to religion. In this article, we explore whether any discrepancy exists between the communicated (based on information disclosed in the annual reports) and ideal (disclosure of information deemed vital based on the Islamic ethical business framework) ethical identities and we measure this by what we have termed the Ethical Identity Index (EII). Our longitudinal survey results over a 3-year period indicate the overall mean EII of only one IB out of seven surveyed to be above average. The remaining six IBs suffer from disparity between the communicated and ideal ethical identities. We further found the largest incongruence to be related to four dimensions: commitments to society; disclosure of corporate vision and mission; contribution to and management of zakah, charity and benevolent loans; and information regarding top management. The results have important implications for communication management if IBs are to enhance their image and reputation in society as well as to remain competitive

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