Monday, April 11, 2011
Indian-origin academic Dr. Sriya Iyer of the Faculty of Economics and St Catharine's College said, "We have found that the resilience of religion draws from the ability of groups to undertake innovation and innovative behavior, similar to the behavior observed in business firms". "In the same ways a business tries to stay ahead of its competitors, religious groups are showing the same rational economic responses to changes in the political, ecological and economic environments in which they operate," she added.
The survey is believed to be one of the first of its kind in India with researchers finding that although India is becoming more powerful and wealthy, rising social inequality - especially in the poorer states - means religious groups often fill the breach left by the lack of social welfare, especially in the fields of education and healthcare.
The study's findings are details in the latest edition of Research Horizons. The Cambridge team from the Faculty of Economics and the Cambridge Judge Business School spent two years surveying 568 Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh and Jain religious organizations across seven Indian states to examine their innovations in offering religious and non-religious service provision.
The 'business model' has seen diversification of activities to retain the loyalty of their followers and attract new members, according to the study conducted at the University of Cambridge. Led by Dr. Sriya Iyer, the study reveals that new ways of religious organizations diversifying include cow-lending, computer-based learning; sewing and aerobics classes.