Religion, Culture and Business legitimacy

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Building on classic understandings of business legitimacy, this paper explores three moral economies, that is, human transactions characterized by noneconomic relationships and values: kosher (a Hebrew term meaning “fit” or “proper”), halal (an Arabic word that literally means “permissible” or “lawful”), and Hindu vegetarianism. In doing so, I argue for the significance of moral economies, and religious markets more specifically, to further the understanding of the complex and changing relationship between religion, culture, and business legitimacy. Over the last couple of decades or so, these moral economies/religious markets have entered a phase characterized by new forms of regulation, certification, and standardization on a global scale. This paper builds mainly on fieldwork conducted at the world’s largest producer of enzymes since 2005, Novozymes, based in Denmark, which complies with both kosher, halal, and Hindu vegetarianism. Novozymes started undergoing auditing for kosher in the late 1980s, halal around 2000, and vegetarianism since 2011 and exploring Novozymes compliance as a case highlights the emergence, consolidation, and transformation of religion, culture, and business compliance in a globalized world.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Business Legitimacy : Responsibility, Ethics and Society
EditorsJacob Rendtorff
Place of PublicationCham
Publication date2020
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-14621-4
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-14622-1
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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