The protestant work ethic as a cultural phenomenon



A central contention of much of the literature about the nature of work values and the meaning of work is that there is (or at least has been) a consensual work ethic operating in modern industrial societies. This premise has surprisingly, rarely been put to the test. In this paper, evidence for a modern work ethic is obtained from the European Values Survey. The link between this work ethic and religion is then explored. While one conclusion of the analysis is that it is still an identifiably Protestant ethic, contextual analysis demonstrates that the effect of a country's religious culture is more potent than the religious beliefs of the individual.