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ASSESSING CONTEXT AND IDEOLOGY ON THE BEHAVIOR OF DENOMINATIONAL BUREAUCRATS

BRIAN ROBERT CALFANO
Review of Religious Research
Vol. 51, No. 2 (December 2009), pp. 166-180
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20697332
Page Count: 15
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
ASSESSING CONTEXT AND IDEOLOGY ON THE BEHAVIOR OF DENOMINATIONAL BUREAUCRATS
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Abstract

Though the behavior of American congregational clergy has long received scholarly attention, a similar assessment of those in the denominational bureaucracy has languished. I begin to remedy this by testing the usefulness of two dominant theoretical lenses that have proven successful in understanding clergy activity at the congregational level. The first, referred to here as the preference approach, assumes that bureaucratic activity, like that of their congregational counterparts, is largely the result of personal ideology. The second, referred to here as the contextual approach, draws on work that has situated congregational pastors in their larger professional settings to tease out the effects of work groups and community on elite activity. Using data from a recent survey of bureaucrats in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), I find that indicators associated with the contextual approach are more consistent predictors of bureaucratic activity than ideology. This suggests that future studies of denominational bureaucrats should be conducted with an eye toward the contextual realities that these religious elites confront.

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