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Book part

Marvin Washington, Harry J. Van Buren and Karen Patterson

Megachurches represent an interesting empirical and conceptual phenomenon. Empirically, megachurches (Protestant churches with average weekly attendance of greater than…

Abstract

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.

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Religion and Organization Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-693-4

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Article

Marc von der Ruhr and Joseph P. Daniels

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…

Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

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.

Findings

Data from the FACT2000 survey provide evidence in support of the model's predictions.

Originality/value

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.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 39 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

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Book part

David E. Eagle

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…

Abstract

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.

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Religion, Work and Inequality
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-347-7

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Article

David Fowler, Jon Musgrave and Jill Musgrave

This organizational climate empirical case study involves a religious organization in the United States of America, which has experienced a substantial decline in…

Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

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.

Findings

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.

Originality/value

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.

Details

International Journal of Organization Theory & Behavior, vol. 23 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1093-4537

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Abstract

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Journal of Consumer Marketing, vol. 31 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0736-3761

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Abstract

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Investment Traps Exposed
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-253-4

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Book part

John F. Sherry

This essay uses Reeves-Ellington's discussion of the timescape as a departure point for describing one way in which marketing managers have responded to consumers’ lived…

Abstract

This essay uses Reeves-Ellington's discussion of the timescape as a departure point for describing one way in which marketing managers have responded to consumers’ lived experience of time. It focuses on the retail theatrics of the retroscape as a source of meaning for beleaguered consumers. It then extends the notion of the liminal to account for the temporal orientation that consumers display with regard to both clock time and cosmic time. It concludes with some observations on pluritemporality in postmodern culture.

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Multi-Level Issues in Organizations and Time
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-7623-1434-8

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Book part

Paul Tracey, Nelson Phillips and Michael Lounsbury

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…

Abstract

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.

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Religion and Organization Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-693-4

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Article

Brad S. Long and Cathy Driscoll

Based on themes the authors observed in workplace spirituality texts, the purpose of this paper is to highlight the historicity of these texts and induce a model to help…

Abstract

Purpose

Based on themes the authors observed in workplace spirituality texts, the purpose of this paper is to highlight the historicity of these texts and induce a model to help them understand how this discourse of workplace spirituality came into being.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors perform intertextual analysis to show how authors draw upon concepts available in the broader discursive context, from which the authors produced a textscape of the workplace spirituality discourse to depict these layers of discursive interconnections.

Findings

The expressed novelty and recency of workplace spirituality as a form of management knowledge, the authors argue, is made ambiguous by its heavy borrowing from other discourses. The authors show how existent spiritual, organizational and societal-level discourses create the conditions of possibility for the discourse of workplace spirituality to emerge. Most of the authors within the corpus engaged the same theories in organizational studies that created the kind of workplaces they now seek to change.

Practical implications

The power of the workplace spirituality discourse to improve the state of workers and work and achieve the expressed desire for change may be diminished through the discursive practices of its authors.

Originality/value

The authors offer a visual “textscape” in which the findings are framed and hence operationalize this idea in a novel manner that contributes to the methods of discourse analysis. The findings also call for more critical reflection into whether workplace spirituality represents a solution to organizational problems when neither the workers nor work it constructs are particularly new.

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Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 28 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

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Article

Jeanine L. Parolini and Mark D. Parolini

Christian Churches in the United States are facing decline and, just like other organizations, must renew themselves. This study explores the culture of a successful…

Abstract

Christian Churches in the United States are facing decline and, just like other organizations, must renew themselves. This study explores the culture of a successful Midwestern church and its climate for innovation in an effort to move this church toward renewal. Through multiple regressionanalysis, support was found for the literature’s claims that a strong adhocracy culture has a significantly positive relationship with climate for innovation. However, the findings offered startling support that a strong clan culture has an even greater significant correlation with climate for innovation. Interestingly, it was found that market and hierarchy cultures have a small inverse relationship with support for innovation, and also that market culture has a small inverse relationship with resource supply. These results have significant implications for churches, ministries, and other nonprofit leaders and their organizations.

Details

International Journal of Organization Theory & Behavior, vol. 15 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1093-4537

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