Understanding the values of Christian organisations: a case study of across (1972-2005) using the organisational culture theory of Edgar Schein

Wall, Michael (2014) Understanding the values of Christian organisations: a case study of across (1972-2005) using the organisational culture theory of Edgar Schein. PhD thesis, Middlesex University / London School of Theology.

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Abstract

This thesis addresses the research question: Is Schein’s theory useful for understanding the values of Christian organisations? The research method used is a case study of ‘Across’. Across is a Christian mission organisation working in South Sudan, which was founded in 1972 after the Addis Ababa Agreement brought to an end the First Sudanese Civil War (1955-1972). Schein’s theory of organisational culture states that ‘the essence of a group's culture is its pattern of shared, basic taken-for-granted assumptions’. In this thesis these ‘basic assumptions’ are referred to by using the term organisational values. According to Schein organisational values manifest themselves at the level of ‘observable artifacts’ and ‘shared espoused values’. Schein then sees that the task of the researcher is to ‘decipher’ these two elements so as to identify the actual, underlying organisational values. After reflecting theologically on the appropriateness of using such a theory in a Christian context the research method then leads to a two stage process being followed. Firstly, to analyse the organisational values of Across from the founding of Across in 1972 until 2005, when the Second Sudanese Civil War (1983-2005) came to an end. The steps in this first stage of the process are to identify the actual organisational values of Across, to look at the factors that caused these values to emerge in Across, and then to track how significant an influence these organisational values were on the organisational behaviour of Across. The Across organisational values identified and selected for study can be summarised in the terms: partnering; integrating (integral mission); focusing on ‘the South’, and identifying with the Sudanese. The second stage in the process is to evaluate how useful Schein’s theory has been in understanding Across, and to assess whether Schein’s theory would therefore be useful in understanding other Christian organisations. The conclusion of this research is that Schein’s theory of organisational culture is useful in understanding the values of Christian organisations, and that this understanding can enable the leaders of Christian organisations to lead more effectively.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Research Areas: B. > Theses
C. Collaborative Partners > London School of Theology
Item ID: 15773
Depositing User: Users 3197 not found.
Date Deposited: 05 May 2015 12:12
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2018 00:05
URI: http://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/15773

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