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Authority, Organization, and Societal Context in Multinational Churches

Reed E. Nelson
Administrative Science Quarterly
Vol. 38, No. 4 (Dec., 1993), pp. 653-682
DOI: 10.2307/2393340
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2393340
Page Count: 30
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Authority, Organization, and Societal Context in Multinational Churches
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Abstract

While most research on authority in organizations has been limited to rational-legal bureaucracies, this paper reviews Weber's three pure types of legitimate authority-rational-legal, traditional, and charismatic-and explores the relationship between authority type, organizational form, societal environment, and organizational outcomes for three multinational churches. The paper compares and contrasts the Christian Congregations, the Assemblies of God, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS or Mormon) in the U.S. and Brazil, each denomination typifying a different Weberian type of authority but coexisting in the same social and institutional environment. Implications of these cases for both Weberian and institutional theory are then developed, and propositions are advanced that might be used in future research.

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