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"You Is The Church": Identity and Identification in Church Leadership

Churches provide a structured medium for human spiritual experiences (Ammerman, 2005) and as such are structured around a set of organizationally unique purposes and beliefs. This research project focuses on the leadership teams of a start-up church organization founded in Denver, CO. Guided by Structuration Theory (Giddens, 1984), Communicative Constitution of Organization through the Four Flows (McPhee & Zaug, 2000), and Organizational Identification (Scott, Corman, & Cheney, 1998), the bi-directional relationship between leaders and the organization was qualitatively examined and analyzed. Specifically, membership negotiation is seen through the constructs of formal structure and identity. The negotiation process was evident in the team through the process of communicating and enacting a DNA metaphor. Membership negotiation is found to encompass the negotiation of individual and organizational identity, as well as organizational identification. The church leadership team, as it currently functions, demonstrates the complexity of identity construction and maintenance within a highly participative and belief driven organization. Through this research there are implications for concertive control and organizational identification negating some of the role tensions for organizational leaders. Overall, structure and agency within the Pearl Church organization is the result of communicative negotiation of importance, belonging, and purpose.
Date21 August 2013
CreatorsGesler, Megan E.
ContributorsDr. Stacey Keogh, Dr. Greg Larson, Dr. Joel Iverson
PublisherThe University of Montana
Source SetsUniversity of Montana Missoula
Detected LanguageEnglish
Rightsunrestricted, I hereby certify that, if appropriate, I have obtained and attached hereto a written permission statement from the owner(s) of each third party copyrighted matter to be included in my thesis, dissertation, or project report, allowing distribution as specified below. I certify that the version I submitted is the same as that approved by my advisory committee. I hereby grant to University of Montana or its agents the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible, under the conditions specified below, my thesis, dissertation, or project report in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. I retain all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis, dissertation or project report. I also retain the right to use in future works (such as articles or books) all or part of this thesis, dissertation, or project report.

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