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Megachurches represent an interesting empirical and conceptual phenomenon. Empirically, megachurches (Protestant churches with average weekly attendance of greater than…
Megachurches represent an interesting empirical and conceptual phenomenon. Empirically, megachurches (Protestant churches with average weekly attendance of greater than 2,000 members) are growing at a time when overall church participation in the United States is steady or declining. Conceptually, megachurch pastors can be viewed as institutional leaders who attempt to reconcile new technologies and large congregations within a highly institutionalized setting. While many of these megachurches have a denominational affiliation, some do not. In this essay, we describe the literature on megachurches and offer observations about the megachurch as an institution. Drawing from preliminary analysis of a sample of over 1,400 megachurches (identified from the Hartford Institute for Religious Research), we also draw tentative conclusions about the characteristics of the pastors of megachurches, and one growing institutional maintenance practice: writing texts. We propose that examining megachurches can help extend the current research on institutional leadership, institutional work, and institutional support mechanisms.
Megachurches are thriving in religious markets at a time when Americans are asserting their ability as consumers of religious products to engage in religious switching…
Megachurches are thriving in religious markets at a time when Americans are asserting their ability as consumers of religious products to engage in religious switching. The apparent success of megachurches, which often provide a low cost and low commitment path by which religious refugees may join the church, seems to challenge Iannocconne's theory that high commitment churches will thrive while low commitment churches will atrophy. This paper aims to investigate this issue.
This paper employs a signaling model to illustrate the strategy and organizational forms megachurches employ to indicate a match between what the church produces and the religious refugee wishes to consume in an effort to increase their membership. The model illustrates that megachurches expect little in regard to financial or time commitment of new attendees. However, once the attendees perceive a good fit with the church, the megachurch increases its expectation of commitment. Data from the FACT2000 survey provide evidence in support of the model's predictions.
Data from the FACT2000 survey provide evidence in support of the model's predictions.
The paper serves to illustrate the dynamic process by which megachurches attract new attendees and transform those that find a good fit between their needs and what the church offers into full members of the church.
Purpose – To assess the following question: Do large Protestant congregations in the United States exert social and political influence simply as a function of their size…
Purpose – To assess the following question: Do large Protestant congregations in the United States exert social and political influence simply as a function of their size, or do other characteristics amplify their influence?
Methodology/Approach – Using the U.S.-based National Congregations Study and the General Social Survey, the chapter employs a multivariate regression model to control for other factors related to church size.
Findings – Larger congregations contain a larger proportion of regular adult participants living in high-income households and possessing college degrees, and a smaller proportion of people living in low-income households. In congregations located in relatively poor census tracts, the relationship between high socioeconomic status (SES) and congregation size remains significant. Across Protestant groups, size and proportion of the congregation with high SES are correlated. Individual-level analyses of linked data from the General Social Survey confirm the positive relationship between the size of congregation the respondent attends with both high household income and possessing a college degree. These analyses also reveal a negative relationship between size and low household income.
Social implications – Size is an important factor when considering the social impact of congregations.
Originality/Value of chapter – This chapter identifies a systematic difference between churches of different sizes based on SES. This relationship has not been previously identified in a nationally representative sample.
Despite its central importance in nearly all societies, religion has been largely neglected in the study of organizations and management. In this introduction to the…
Despite its central importance in nearly all societies, religion has been largely neglected in the study of organizations and management. In this introduction to the volume on religion and organization theory, we argue that such neglect limits unnecessarily the relevance and scope of organization and management theory (OMT) and that there is therefore great value in connecting organizational research with a deeper appreciation and concern for religion. We begin by speculating about some of the reasons why organization and management theorists are hesitant to study religion, and go on to discuss some nascent points of contact between religion and OMT. We conclude with a discussion of the articles in this volume, which represent an attempt to remedy this unfortunate blind spot within OMT scholarship.
This organizational climate empirical case study involves a religious organization in the United States of America, which has experienced a substantial decline in…
This organizational climate empirical case study involves a religious organization in the United States of America, which has experienced a substantial decline in membership and weekly service participation numbers over the previous five years. The purpose of this qualitative case study is to reveal motivating factors that drive parishioners to leave or stay within a traditional protestant congregation and to uncover the strengths and weaknesses within the organization.
The methodology behind the study considers personal observation by the author and engages current and former members of the organization as well as front-line employees and senior leadership. Qualitative essays were completed through Qualtrics by participants and analyzed with the use of MAXQDA software for thematic frequency and organization.
During analysis, correlations were found to exist between the church's membership decline and ineffectiveness of senior leadership. Also, it is quite evident that the church's strengths were found in the quality of its members and the relationships they developed. This was found to be a significant motivation to stay within the organization.
The study provides value to practitioners within organizational development fields. Usage of this knowledge could assist in providing insights into possible reasons why religious organizations falter under ineffective leadership, which in turn could provide opportunities to implement improvements based on discoveries.
Philosophers and political theorists have long warned of the “perils of dogmatism” for public discourse and identified intellectual humility as a necessary corrective…
Philosophers and political theorists have long warned of the “perils of dogmatism” for public discourse and identified intellectual humility as a necessary corrective. Sufficient intellectual humility encompasses at least four elements: openness to error, recognition of bias, recognition of intellectual parity in interlocutors, and avoidance of recourse to authority. Religions seem to present obstacles on all four fronts, particularly when actors embody more conservative renderings of a given religion’s repertoire. As such, a case involving different groups of religious exclusivists engaging one another on topics that directly interact their deepest faith commitments and political visions presents a useful test case for our theories of intellectual humility. This chapter considers conservative protestants engaging in public discourse with Muslims about whether or not Muslim and Christian understandings of “loving God” and “loving neighbor” have sufficient overlap to support political cooperation. The results of the dialogue effort were a mixture of controversy and cooperation. For evangelicals, the engagement produced sharp conflict and yet helped to shift the community’s plausibility structures, opening further the possibility of fruitful public discourse and strategic action in cooperation with Muslims. The analysis suggests a conceptualization of practical intellectual humility that emphasizes recognition of the other.
At the time of its demise in 2001, the Enron Corporation could boast of its comprehensive, state-of-the-art management control and governance systems. Yet these controls…
At the time of its demise in 2001, the Enron Corporation could boast of its comprehensive, state-of-the-art management control and governance systems. Yet these controls were rendered ineffective in the company's last few years. This article identifies the radical change in Enron's corporate culture that took place from the Lay-Kinder era (1986–1996) to the Lay-Skilling era (1997–2001). It argues that this was a major cause of neutralizing these controls, which in turn proved to be a major factor in Enron's fall into bankruptcy. The article draws on Schein's (1993, Legitimating clinical research in the study of organizational culture, Journal of Counselling and Development, 71, 703–708; 1996, 2004) framework of cultural practice to develop our analysis. Thus, it supports Simon's (1990, 1995) urging to more meaningfully include corporate culture in management control research studies. The article contributes to the literature by drawing attention to the rich but untold story of Enron's governance and control and also extends the research linking corporate culture and control systems.
On Inauguration Day 2017, Milo Yiannopoulos gave a talk sponsored by the University of Washington College Republicans entitled “Cyberbullying Isn’t Real.” This chapter is…
On Inauguration Day 2017, Milo Yiannopoulos gave a talk sponsored by the University of Washington College Republicans entitled “Cyberbullying Isn’t Real.” This chapter is based on participant-observation conducted in the crowd outside the venue that night and analyzes the violence that occurs when the blurring of the boundaries between “free” and “hate” speech is enacted on the ground. This ethnographic examination rethinks relationships between law, bodies, and infrastructure as it considers debates over free speech on college campuses from the perspectives of legal and public policy, as well as those who supported and protested Yiannopoulos’s right to speak at the University of Washington. First, this analysis uses ethnographic research to critique the absolutist free speech argument presented by the legal scholars Erwin Chemerinsky and Howard Gillman. Second, this essay uses the theoretical work of Judith Butler and Sara Ahmed to make claims concerning relationships between speech, vulnerability, and violence. In so doing, this chapter argues that debates over free speech rights on college campuses need to be situated by processes of neoliberalization in higher education and reconsidered in light of the ways in which an absolutist position disproportionately protects certain people at the expense of certain others.