The converging and clashing discourses of spirituality and strategy: doing discursive identity work in a church organization

Pekka Pälli, Esa Lehtinen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionProfessional


In this paper we investigate the entanglement of the discourse and practice of strategy and the spiritual, religious discourse. Using a Finnish Church organization as an example, we illustrate how the language and discourse of strategy is consumed and recontextualized vis-à-vis religious discourse, as the church managers, in their talk and text, “cite” strategy discourse in the context of their own work. Our data consist of organizational strategy texts and six video-recorded manager-to-manager strategy conversations. We show how the adoption of a specific strategic planning methodology, or a social activity type of strategizing, caused particular communicative actions with meaning-making efforts that were bounded with the normative understanding of what strategy is and how it is used. Specifically, our study suggests that strategy discourse - and the adoption of the practice of strategizing – had an effect on the organizational members’ discursive identity work, as the managers cited and echoed it, recontextualized it, and sometimes struggled with it, when putting it to the context of religious discourse inherent in their work and their organization.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication32nd European European Group of Organizational Studies Colloquium (EGOS), Naples, Italy, July 2016
PublisherEuropean Group for Organizational Studies (EGOS)
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016
MoE publication typeD3 Professional conference proceedings
EventEuropean Group for Organizational Studies Colloquium - University of Naples Federico II Department of Economics, Management and Institutions, Naples, Italy
Duration: 7 Jul 20169 Jul 2016
Conference number: 32


ConferenceEuropean Group for Organizational Studies Colloquium
Abbreviated titleEGOS
Internet address


Dive into the research topics of 'The converging and clashing discourses of spirituality and strategy: doing discursive identity work in a church organization'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this