Buddhist Values and Work Ethics on Human Resource Management Practices in Nepalese Commercial Banks

Narendra Kumar Shrestha, PhD


The research is intended to determine the impact of Buddhist Values and Work Ethics on Human Resource Management Practices in Nepalese Commercial Banks. It is also identified how the Buddhist values and work ethics affects on human resource management practices. The study suggests Buddhist values; four Noble truths that include eight fold paths, five precepts, four divine emotion Buddhism, and ten Buddhist perfections are important to ensure human resource management practices. A simple random technique was used to gather data from 384 employees working in Nepalese commercial banks through a well-structured questionnaire. To analyze the data collected, correlation, multiple regression analysis, F-test and t-test have been developed. The result revealed that Buddhist values and work ethics had a significant impact on HRM practices among employees working in commercial banks in Nepal.


Buddhism, Buddhist Values and Work Ethics, Human Resource Management Practices.



Buddhism is an ancient system of thought that reflects Buddha’s teachings. The system–a meditative, esoteric practice that often works as a system of religion. Buddhism emphasizes consciousness development and ideals of a spiritually minimalist lifestyle, resisting dependency and material connection (Waghmare & Mehata, 2014). Buddhism offers an interesting view of proper management practice. The impact on managerial practice of Buddhist beliefs is quite minimal (Fernando and Jackson, 2006) have found that faith, including Buddhism, has played a significant role in managerial decision-making in Sri Lanka.

Paradeshi (2014) reportes that Buddhism has its unique theory and practices of management that have evolved over a long period of time. The theory of Buddhism has concepts of management such as Dharma justice, collective leadership, joint support and accountability, mutual respect and peace, contact and engagement, and democratic governance. Experts are therefore, investigating how Buddhism can be used to address the daily and situational issues faced by organizational management. Although religious beliefs have always had an influence on management practice, the relationship between spiritualism and business has increased in recent years (Dean, Fornaciari, and McGee 2003; Fry 2003; Abuznaid 2006; Schwartz; 2006).

Dhammapia (2003) has explained that Buddhism is practiced in varieties of behavior. In Buddhism, rules for the behavior of ordinary people are expressed in the four Noble truths; it includes the eightfold path, five precepts, four divine emotion and ten perfections of Buddhism. Buddhism, though primarily misperceived as merely a religion, can be regarded as an integrated source of ideas and insightful learning for so many disciplines and branches of human knowledge, which we are even unaware of till the date.

Some of this focus has been geared towards an ethical perspective (White 1999; White and Taft 2004; Suen, Cheung, and Mondejar 2007), as one would anticipate when discussing religion, but the study area has now been extended to include other areas of interest for researchers in management. Therefore, conducting interdisciplinary research was a fertile ground.

The Buddhist values can be found good enough to note the sufficiency of business and management work ethics. Buddhist values are found incorruptibly alert and alarmed to highlight the profound principles of organizational work ethics, business values, rules and regulations, theory, doctrine, precepts, moral conduct and behavior of the people which are few of critical discussions that modern management practice urges to gauge the success of any firm. Therefore, the studies have highlighted the relationship between Buddhist values and work ethics on human resource management (HRM) practices and organizational performance in Nepalese commercial banks.

Objective of the Study

This study examines the impact of Buddhist values and work ethics on human resource management practices in Nepalese commercial banks.


Review of Literature

Buddhist values and work ethics provide a long history of work relationship between ethically accepted virtues and work environment worldwide. The understanding of values and work ethics is experimentally as old as work itself, therefore, it carries unique acceptance in most of the societies. The philosophy of Buddhism is beyond words due to its depth; hence, the researcher has selected a few popular Buddhist values and ethics such as four Noble truths, which encompasses all major teaching and preaching like eightfold path, five precepts, four divine emotion, and ten perfections, for analyzing as a research model. Barro & McCleary, 2003; McCleary & Barro, 2006) have revealed that religious practices and values play a less critical role in daily life than they one perform as it has been found the level and intensity of the role of religion in daily life generally decreases as income rise and economic development. However, it is believed that people remarkable insights for regulating and guiding to act ensuring the ethical values in each of the organizations: be it household, society, office or industry.


Buddhism, however, provides a unique perspective on organizational work ethics and strives in helping people to understand how people come to invest the work roles in an organization. Mindfully examining that how people become committed to companies, “corporate vision,” and ideologies can help us remain faithful to ethical values and make better business and decisions in life too. Mindfulness amounts to be a necessarily important cog in studying the relationship between Buddhism and modern business. Buddhist values shall be an expedient example to modern managers. Buddhism is to be practiced during all of life’s activities, including organizational work. Buddhists aspire to do everything mindfully. Buddhist mindfulness involves watching everything that comes into peoples’ consciousness carefully and every physical sensation, every feeling, and every thought, without being caught up in observing all aspects of the work.

Buddhist Values

Buddhist values are the beliefs between right and wrong that are essential in life: Cultural, social, moral as well as organizational behavior. Organizational behavior is concerned with what and how to manage people for high performance in today’s organization. Values directly and or, at least, indirectly advocate how to manage oneself and human resources more effectively (Luthans,2013). Buddha expected people grow with more admissible values and ethics in society. Such all orientations are made in course of developing people wrapped with better values (Harvey, 2000). Thus, the researcher describes that values are a person’s sense of right and wrong or what “ought” to be.


Buddhist Ethics

Ethics commonly refers to principles of behavior. Ethics are moral principles or beliefs about what is right or wrong. It is as a method, procedure, or perspective for a decision how to act for analyzing complex problems and issues of human beings. Jayatilleke (1984) has described that the ethics have to do with human conduct and it is concerned with the questions regarding what is right and evil, what is right and wrong, what is justice and what are duties, obligations, and rights. Ethics constitutes the purely theoretical study of moral phenomena. Buddhist ethics has a close connection with social philosophy as well. Ethics and social philosophy of Buddhism answer the question what we should do, how we should know, and what we know. It concerns what the goal of life should be or is and what we have to do for self-improvement, self-realization, and attainment of the highest good and what we should do for the good of others or society or the welfare and happiness of humankind.


Buddhist ethics is a tool for individuals and teams to effectively make ethical behavior real in life and the workplace. As people in business become aware of their actions & the consequences of those actions, it becomes natural to create successful businesses that are right, healthy, ethical & joyful places to work (Ashtankar, 2015).


Thus, Buddhist ethics are the system of moral principles or codes of conduct, which are oriented towards processes, personality, perception and people’s attitude. Ethics is the analysis of personality and attitudes of individual and organizational behavior. It is devoted to personal development and the socialization process, to understand people’s behavior and how they are guided by Buddhist ethics viz. five precepts, four divine emotion and ten perfections of Buddhism.  The same principles apply to organizational behavior, job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and finally the more recent relevant construct of organizational citizenship behavior (Luthans,2013). Thus, the researcher communicates that ethics is a system of moral principles and the guidelines for conduct, which address a question about the morality of human begins.



Buddhist Values and Work Ethics

Buddhist values and work ethic are considered a unique process and technique that establishes a link between the human resource, management and the stakeholders. People and the specific ethical considerations being implemented accurately express organizational practices. Values and work ethics with a thoughtful analysis of their character are establishing a working environment within an organization. The relationship between Buddhist values and work ethics and HRM practices which efforts are collectively extended to ensure the organizational performance into a considerable level. Values and work ethics present an essential aspect in a more thoughtful environment and this is a critical priority that necessitates growth and establishes a significant milestone in developing people and organization (Flynne, 1994).


Hence, the relationship between Buddhist values and work ethics and  employees satisfaction and commitments are dependent on organizational human resource management practices.  It shows an advanced level of attaching human resources expectations and organizational performance. Importantly, work ethics has other aligned contents that assist to establish people and their perception on working with the environment, which has motivated them to work and achieve their targets.

Influence of Buddhist Values and Work Ethics and Human Resource Management Practices in Nepalese Commercial Banks.

The willingness to share the vision, mission and accept virtual consistencies within the Buddhist values and work ethics and it expressed virtually all appropriate interests necessary to manage organizational goals of any organization. Supportive goals infringe change at an appropriate level and help to distribute essential determinants necessary to enhance performance at every wing of the organization. It is essential especially while analytical predictions of attitudes are being elaborated at the modes level. In reality, the changing trend allows employees to achieve their ambitions and generate the right approach towards job motivation for their jobs. To improve the perfections, commitments, concentration environmental opportunities are geared toward attaining human resource developments, which are accepted by the Buddhist values and work ethics. Boon & Arumngan, (2006) have explored that the significant principles meaningfully explore one level after evaluating what scholars have long established as the networked approach to organizational performance. Likewise, George et al., (2003) have explained that people’s variables are controlled by the system, which is genuinely noted by the laws and discipline applied in any organization to achieve highly emphasized influential value, ethics and norms. Further work of Bashir et al., (2008) have suggested that the experienced change and its views on people. Thus, it has significant relationships between Buddhist values and works ethics and HR practices. Boxal & Purcell, (2000) explain that HRM includes anything and everything associated with the management of employment relationships in the firm. We do not associate human resource management solely with a high-commitment model of labor-management or any particular ideology of management”.

Storey (1995) has also defined “Human resource management is a distinctive approach to employment management which seeks to achieve competitive advantage through strategic deployment of a highly committed and capable workforce, using an integrated array of cultural, structural and personnel techniques”. Bacon (2003) has accepted with Boxal and Purcell and believes that if human resource management is exclusively defined as high commitment management, various companies will be marginalized. He considers that the definition of Storey (1995) as exclusive identifying human resource management in contrast to other forms of labor-management whereas the second inclusive definition (Boxal & Purcal, 2000) cover all forms of labor management.

Milkovich & Newman (1993) have communicated that human resource management (HRM) functions consist of recruitment, selection, training and development, performance appraisal, compensation, and labor relations. They are explained as:

  • Recruitment: Identifying and attracting qualified people to apply for vacant positions in an organization.
  • Selection: The process by which companies choose people to fill vacant positions in the organization.
  • Training and development: The process by which employees acquire the knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform successfully both in current jobs and in the future jobs they will have in their organizational careers.
  • Performance appraisal: The system used by an organization to measure and assess employees’ work performances.
  • Compensation: The organization’s entire reward package, including not only financial rewards and benefits but also intangible rewards such as job security.
  • Labor relations: The continuing relationship between an employer and employees who are represented by labor organizations.

HRM practices as having four critical dimensions: commitment, flexibility, quality, and integration. The first dimension considers that employees should internalize the goals of the organization and behave accordingly. The flexibility dimension considers that employees should be ready to adapt to any change within a flexible organizational structure. Quality of employees means better organizational performance. Finally, integration refers to always harmonizing human resources strategies with corporate strategy and necessitates that various functions of the human resource management strategy are mutually supportive (Guest, 1987). (Pfeffer, 1994) has argued that there are seven best practices for achieving competitive advantage through people and ‘building profits by putting people first’. These practices included providing employment security, selective hiring, extensive training, sharing information, self-managed teams, and high pay based on institution performance and the reduction of status differentials. Nepal is still at the initial stage of development of human resource management. Personnel management system is still preoccupied with operational issues rather than a managerial one. HR planning and practices are not in the priorities of Nepalese managers. Nepalese decision makers are still in a position to hold power rather than delegating it. Therefore, the study shows the significant relationship between the Buddhist values and work ethics and HRM practices to maintain better moral and ethical values of human resource in Nepalese commercial banks.

Lewis (1985) has cited that organizational ethics as rules, standards, codes, or principles that provide guidelines in specific situations for morally correct behavior and truthfulness. Ethics is the systematic process used by business organizations to assess actions as either right or wrong (Barsh and Lisewski, 2008). Being a very sensitive industry, commercial banks demand four Noble truths in which eight folds, five precepts, Four Divine Emotion Buddhism and ten perfections of Buddhism as a must quality to serve the customer and make dignity of service maintained. Right View/ Understanding, Right Thought /Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right, Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration equip an employee be professionally dedicated, emotionally balanced, ethically cultured, dutifully abided and institutionally loyal. A sound and an exemplary human resource formation shall be profoundly underscored in case those eight fold paths are seriously acclimatized (Sachs, 2006). Syder (2006) has applied that the core principle of four highest emotions assimilated as the four insights by Buddhism i.e. Metta (Loving-Kindness), Karuna (Compassion), Mudita (Joy with Others), and Upekkha (Equanimity) are equally desiring attributes among employees of Nepalese commercial banks.  It is permanent and should be refined, respected, and applied by everyone to experience perpetual progress and command regular progress.  This philosophy has placed a great deal of emphasis on Buddhist values and ethics, honesty, and fairness, not only in their lives, but also in their work as well alike the perfection of truthfulness, one of the ten perfections of Buddhism urges. A stronger ethical climate brings less role stress, greater job satisfaction and organizational commitment (Babin, Boles and Robin, 2000). Thus, researcher strongly recommended that measuring the Buddhist values and work ethics on human resource management practices in Nepalese commercial banks might sound straightforward.

Research Methodology

Descriptive and causal comparative research designs have been used for the investigation. The survey was designed by adopting readily established constructs from the published literature. The population for the research consisted of employees working in Nepalese commercial bank. The data was collected through well-structured questionnaire from a sample size of 384 respondents using simple random sampling technique. Data was analyzed using correlation, multiple regression analysis, t-test and f-test.


Table 3.1 Reliability and Validity Analysis


VariableComposite ReliabilityVIFCronbachs AlphaCommunality

(FNT=Four Noble Truths, EP= Eightfold Paths, EPB=Five Precepts of Buddhism, FDEB= Four Divine Emotion Buddhism, TP= Ten Perfections & HRMP= Human Resource Management Practices)

Table 3.1 reveals the reliability test. VIF factors have been identified to be less than 10, which mean there is no multicollinearity among independent variables. The values of cronbachs alpha also seemed to be greater than 0.7, which resembles that the data is reliable. Likewise, communality values have been found to be greater than 0.7, which is good for the research. If the test has a strong internal consistency, most measurement experts agree that it should show only moderate correlation among items (0.70 to 0.90). Cronbach alpha values have recorded to be higher than 0.7.Thus, it is concluded that the data collected in this study is highly reliable.


Table 4.1 Correlation Matrix between Dependent and Independent Variables


(*) = significant at 5% level of significance), FNT = Four Nobel Truths, EP = Eightfold Path, FPB = Five Precepts of Buddhism, FDEB= Four Divine Emotion Buddhism, TP= Ten perfections of Buddhism and HRMP= Human Resource Management Practices.


Table 4.1 describes about correlation matrix between variables under investigation. It shows that there is positive correlation between four Nobel truth (r = 0.47, p < 0.000), eightfold paths (r = 0.62, p < 0.000), five perceptions of Buddhism (r = 0.59, p < 0.000), four divine emotion Buddhism ((r = 0.46, p < 0.000),  ten perfections (r = 0.55, p < 0.000) and human resource management practices in Nepalese commercial banks. Thus, it can be concluded that there is significant and positive relationship between human resource management practices and four Nobel truths, eightfold paths, five precepts of Buddhism, four divine emotion and ten perfections of Buddhism.


Table 4.2 Multiple Regression Analysis

ModelUnstadardized CoefficienttSig.
BStd. Error

(*) = significant at 5% level of significance), FNT = Four Nobel Truths, EP = Eightfold Path, FPB = Five Precepts of Buddhism, FDEB= Four Divine Emotion Buddhism, TP= Ten perfections of Buddhism and HRMP= Human Resource Management Practices.

Table 4.2 describes about the multiple regression analysis. The five variables i.e.  four Nobel truths (b = 0.077, p < 0.05), eightfold path (b = 0.448, p < 0.000), five precepts of Buddhism (b = 0.065, p < 0.000), four divine emotion Buddhism (b = 0.084, p < 0.000) and likewise, ten perfections of Buddhism (b = 0.108, p < 0.000) have significant impact on human resource management practices in Nepalese commercial banks at 5% level of significance.



It is concluded that there is a positive and significant relationship between Buddhist values and work ethics and human resource management practices. Additionally, the strength of relationship among independent and dependent variable was found to be strong. It can be concluded that there is a significant impact of four noble truths, which includes the eightfold path, four divine emotions, and ten perfections of Buddhism have significant on human resource management practices of the employees in Nepalese commercial banks. Likewise, five precepts of Buddhism also has its significant impact on human resource management practices in Nepalese commercial banks.


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