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From God to good? Faith-based institutions in the secular society

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The concept of moral values is gaining influence in contemporary faith-based institutions in secular societies, in part replacing yesterday’s religious devotion. The engagement in values expresses a moral, secularized search for meaning in life. Still, the concern for values within Christian organizations is flavored by the context of religion. Thus, workplace discussions on values include ethical reflexivity as well as ‘unchurched spiritualities’. An action research project is presented, demonstrating this shift in institutional orientation. The project was carried out in a diaconal general hospital in Oslo, Norway over a period of three years. The project addressed and enhanced general ethical sensitivity and the development of awareness of values-in-use throughout leadership and staff. In conclusion, it is argued that ‘critical value reflection’ may be a viable strategy for faith-based institutional practice, combining religious foundational goals with ideals of welfare in the secular society.
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Keywords: action research; ethical reflexivity; faith-based institution; secularization; values

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Diakonhjemmet University College Department of Diaconia and Leadership, Oslo, Norway 2: Diakonhjemmet Hospital, Oslo, Norway

Publication date: March 1, 2012

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  • The Journal of Management, Spirituality & Religion as the first dedicated journal in this subfield houses the largest collection of academic work relevant to the disciplines of management and organization, religious studies and practical theology. JMSR is ranked second out of 530 religious studies journals by Scopus (2021 rating) and also as second out of 317 religion journals by Calrivate (2021 Journal Citation Indicator). JMSR will continue to serve these communities and related scholarly domains as the prime forum for disseminating empirical data, developing theory, reporting best practice, and for the exchange of ideas and debate.

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