Conference Report: Religious Systems and RO

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Religious Systems not just denominations or churches, etc.

Some comments from the participants in this session. Hierarchy seems to have come from the order of the priesthood (various religions). The hierarchy is then a reflection of the holy(?). What is a managerial accountability hierarchy and what is not, and how these issues in religious systems has impact generally.

Some comments about John Morgan’s discussions yesterday at the plenary on “RO Goes to Church”. Byran pointed out that mega-church and it being a new social institution (Drucker).

Going when I go where I can get knowledge and often find it while discussing with religious people.

Although there is much in OD that is applicable, “you will never achieve salvation by management.” But we have to be clear about who we are first, before we can bring things into it from OD.

First, churches/religious organizations are Associations – Voluntary. They are in the equalization model (from Ian Macdonald). They also have in them a Professional Assocation. Depending on the tradition and theology of the group, the Profs may or may not be memers of the Voluntary Assocation.

Normative Organizations: Exist to apply and define norms. (Ex: rose society)


Dr. Xenakis:

As a practitioner, someone who has used it within his organization (Medical Corps) and then confronted with a management problem within his local religious community. He wants to reply to Morgan’s talk (from yesterday). He has a very different theology of growth and tradition. He showed a graphic of how he thinks about this church.

The tension of how the Holy Spirit informs, guides, with the management ideas that he brings to his organization.

[Organization of the church is growing more complex. The problems of education are growing.]

Steve Clement helped them get words for their existing core values, the essence of who they are. Then they attempted to map what they do in their religious system. Then “break out into what starts to look like a business plan” mapping out the core ministries.

(Aside on telemedicine, since it allowed doctors to accomplish what needed to be done in the military. Giving bedridden individuals televised ceremonies from the church and then personal delivery of sacremental pieces.)

Bryan: he would have clergy map authority on their congregation. Talking to the maps, giving it a visual dimension.

Michelle Malay Carter:

Local congregation that is somewhat independent from the denomination. Looked at the Don Beck “Spiral Dynamics” model within a church context. She talks about applying the Green values. Commented on how John Morgan’s presentation is much like Orange, very goal oriented, etc.

[Community of practice or living that does not have an organization. A strong difference in opinions.

There are RO (complete organization) that are not applicable to all religious instituions or communities. Because many are organic. This really brings out the underlying pumps behind the RO theory. There is a separation here, because not every religious group has a MAH and often these ideas are confused.

What is the ]

Are there things in RO that would help this community get things done but not hurt people? “RO is an answer but not the answer” for her religious community.

A theology of work.

“What is our contract with our members?” Not creating clear authorities. Determining an ordering for resources.

“W W W”: What are you asked to do? Why? When due?

“q q r (i)”: “(i)” is integration, who are you going to be bumping up against?

If you clearly describe roles, people will self-select. So they put on timespans on work.


Levels may not important, but the TIRR model is a good tool to get clear on these teams.

“Religious systems are, whatever else they are, belief systems.” If you work with them, you must honor their belief systems.

He studies the Doctrine of Work. If you want to study religious systems, you must understand their doctrine of ordination. In mainline denominations, the clergy are not managers. They are individual contributors, there to preform a professional service.

Getting clear about decision making authorities.

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