In today’s neo-liberalist world, Islamic financial institutions (IFIs) face many difficulties combining contemporary financial thinking with Islamic, faith-based principles, on which their day-to-day operations ought to be based. Hence, IFI are likely to experience shifts/changes in organizational and ethical identity due to tensions that the combination of these principles invokes. We present an in-depth case study that focuses on these shifts in a major European based IFI across a 14-year period. We conceptualize identity change as drift, highlighting the multivocal nature of identity construction. The ethico-faith principles that were meant to serve as living codes of ethics guiding the IFI’s organizational culture, operational processes, and strategy formation turned out to mainly have been discursively rationalized to respond to regulatory, market and institutional imperatives. The company is aware that it needs to engage in a continuous dialogue with those who set these requirements. Its ethico-faith principles may consequently be adapted quite radically, especially in periods of turmoil and takeover, as we show across the analysed time period. The paper provides valuable insights for faith-inspired organizations to reflect on the extent to which they wish to engage in the discursive justification and legitimization of current market hegemonies, whilst they actively encourage their managers to behave ethically as well.
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- Ethical identity
- Organizational identity drift