Leadership and Mission-Based Decision-Making: The U.S. Catholic Bishops' Responses to the Priest Shortage
AuthorHoegeman, Catherine Helen
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis dissertation applies upper echelon theory to a nonprofit religious organization to explore how leaders' mission perspectives influence their decisions, and in turn, how those decisions affect organizational outcomes. My case is the U.S. Roman Catholic Church and how bishops' theological ideologies influence their decisions about how to respond to the priest shortage. My findings are consistent with existing strategic management literature in that multiple factors are significant in predicting decision outcomes: the organizational characteristics, the local environment, and leader characteristics. Bishops ideology had some effect, suggesting that bishops were influenced by their understanding of mission and exercised value-rational decision-making. However, the objective situation, the scope of the priest shortage, had more consistent effects. This characterizes bishops' decision-making as instrumentally rational. My findings also suggest an influence from the broader institutional environment. The prevailing ideology/culture of the Roman Catholic Church had different influences at different time periods. Additional analyses showed that the bishops' decisions affected organizational outcomes. Based on measures of membership levels and participation, there was a negative response to use of non-traditional forms of parish leadership, as indicated by reductions in the numbers of Catholics and sacramental activity.
Degree ProgramGraduate College