Organizational ethnography and religious organizations: the case of Quaker decision-making

Nicholas Burton*, Juliette Koning, Rachel Muers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

How should we study the management practices of religious organizations to do justice to their distinctive religious motivations and traditions? In this article, we articulate how a specific research approach - organizational ethnography - may enable a deeper understanding of religious and/or spiritual organizational practice. We approach our methodological research questions by engaging with the literature on the distinctive decision-making practices of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), commonly known as the Quaker business method. Having shown that the Quaker business method destabilizes a simple binary between "insider" and "outsider" and between believers and nonbelievers, we bring the theory and practice of organizational ethnography into conversation with Quaker accounts of decision-making. We conclude with pathways for future research in the space this destabilization creates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-367
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Management, Spirituality and Religion
Volume15
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Organizational ethnography
  • Quakers
  • decision-making
  • Quaker business method
  • spiritual/religious organizations
  • STUDYING SPIRITUALITY
  • MANAGEMENT
  • WORK
  • MINDFULNESS
  • QUALITY
  • TALES
  • FIELD

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