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Faith-Based Organizational Communication and its Implications for Member Identity

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This study demonstrates inherent tensions in the organizational communication practices of churches and links to members' individual and organizational identities. Ethnographic data from a large Baptist church revealed three competing speech codes which comprised the discourse of church meetings: keep the faith (emphasizes R/S values and spiritual disciplines such as prayer), secular thinking (stresses business concerns/trends and lauds codified standards/goals for decision-making), and business as usual (underscores mechanistic routines). This study offers insight into how these codes are negotiated by pastors, staff, and congregational leaders through processes described as code jumping, compartmentalizing, and trumping. Finally, this study advances practical understandings of the role that interaction in formal meetings (i.e., a situated activity) has in shaping the identities of pastors and non-pastors.
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Keywords: Faith-Based Organizations; Individual Identity; Organizational Identification; Religion; Spirituality

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-11-01

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