Shaping individual paths for decision-making: a fuzzy set approach of religious and humanistic beliefs leading to the (non)acceptance of euthanasia

Maria Eduarda Soares*, Alfredo Teixeira, Patrícia Tavares

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


PurposeWhile the influence of individual beliefs on decision-making has been widely acknowledged, the interaction of different types of beliefs remains an under-researched topic. This study analyses how the simultaneous influence of religious beliefs and nonreligious beliefs shapes individual decision-making. This study aims to contribute to inform organizational decisions on topics potentially associated with these two types of beliefs, including corporate social responsibility matters. This study also aims to provide insights to ethical decision-making in situations of absence of social consensus, a subject that is relevant for individuals, organizations and policymakers. Design/methodology/approachThis study uses fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis to identify how different configurational groupings of Christian beliefs and humanistic beliefs lead to the acceptance or nonacceptance of euthanasia in a sample of individuals who identify as Catholic. FindingsAmong individuals sharing a Catholic religious affiliation, the authors identify three different configurations of beliefs - Cultural Catholics (religious beliefs are absent and humanistic beliefs are present), Observant Catholics (religious beliefs are present and humanistic beliefs are irrelevant) and Secular Catholics (both religious beliefs and humanistic beliefs are present). Originality/valuePrevious research has put forward the role of religion-related variables, such as religious affiliation and level of religiosity, for views on euthanasia. This study provides a more detailed analysis of the role of belief systems, identifying how different configurational groupings of beliefs lead to a decision grounded in moral and ethical considerations but for which there is an absence of social consensus.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1207-1227
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Organizational Analysis
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2023


  • Belief systems
  • Bounded rationality
  • End-of-life decisions
  • Euthanasia
  • Religion


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