Loughborough University
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How clergy experience preparing to move jobs in the Church of England

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posted on 2015-03-06, 15:15 authored by Christine Blackie
This research project sought to find out more about how clergy experience preparing to move jobs in the Church of England. This is important and timely for several reasons. First, there has been limited theoretical and empirical attention paid to the process and tasks of preparing for a career transition. Second, clergy are contemplating job moves in a dynamic institutional context which is affecting how they perceive and construct their future career trajectory. Third, I set out to investigate clergy as members of a workforce facing some of the same issues and concerns as those in other occupations rather than viewing them as being in any way special by virtue of their ordained status. The study is framed by career theories which attend to transition, turnover and the determinants and antecedents of career and job mobility. A total of 31 clergy from three Church of England dioceses were interviewed as part of a qualitative study. A social constructivist method was adopted and thematic analysis applied to the data with attention being paid to the reflexive research process. The findings indicate that a religious context is an important site for enhancing our understanding of the complex relationship between individual agency, structural constraints and the antecedents to preparing to move jobs. Following structural changes to how clergy are recruited, selected and appointed to posts participants are found to be experiencing cognitive dissonance as they anticipate a move. This is explained by a shift in the delegation of authority to individual clergy and the erosion of strategic ambiguity as a mode of communication between different parties. These are changes which undermine value systems rooted in history, tradition, custom and practice and calling which clergy rate highly. The study identifies facets of calling and vocation which clergy correlate with preparing to move jobs rather than an original call to ministry.



  • Business and Economics


  • Business


© Christine Blackie

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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.


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