Identity Drift: The Multivocality of Ethical Identity in Islamic Financial Institution

Nunung Nurul Hidayah*, Alan Lowe, Ivo De Loo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)475-494
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Issue number3
Early online date6 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit


  • Ethical identity
  • Multivocality
  • Organizational identity drift


Dive into the research topics of 'Identity Drift: The Multivocality of Ethical Identity in Islamic Financial Institution'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this