Knowledge Sharing in Catholic Organizations: A Fuzzy‐Set Qualitative Comparative Analysis

Knowledge Sharing in Catholic Organizations: A Fuzzy‐Set Qualitative Comparative Analysis

Carla Curado, João Graça, Mírian Oliveira, Alexandra Fernandes
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/IJKM.2021070103
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This study examines knowledge sharing in Catholic organizations. The authors adopt Schein's organizational culture theory that facilitates, or inhibits, knowledge sharing in organizations. Thus, they address the phenomenon at the three levels: the artifacts, the norms and values, and the underlying assumptions. Considering the chosen settings, they study the contributions of individuals having taken vows, the organizational rituals, the significance, and the sense of community perceived by the organizational members. Data were gathered using a survey and were analyzed by using a fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis. The study provides the causal configurations of conditions that lead to tacit, explicit, and total knowledge sharing. They also offer the causal configurations of conditions that lead to the absence of each kind of knowledge sharing. Given that the qualitative results cannot be generalized, the study can still be replicated in organizations without restrictions.
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Religious organizations need to define and implement their goals to clarify the roles of clergy and laity, to facilitate change, and to manage the relationships between congregations (religious institutions) and denominations (subgroups within religion) (Harris 1998). Religious organizations have stakeholders, structures, and strategies that involve people, processes, and technology. Similar to profitable organizations, they are open systems dependent on external resources (Miller 2006) that enables businesses to adopt religious aspects (sacralization) and religious organizations to adopt business aspects (secularization) (Miller 2006). These open systems make distinguishing between the business and religious aspects of organizations difficult. Thus, both religious and non-religious organizations share characteristics that make both equally suitable places to study the management of intangible resources (Miller 2006). Miller (2002) defines religious organizations as “social businesses whose main purpose is to create, maintain and exchange compensators (rewards) based on the supernatural”; that is, the main resource of this type of organization does not have an assigned material value. Nevertheless, the reluctance to recognize the importance of management processes in religious organizations means that few studies address this issue (Crittenden et al. 1988).

The study of religious organizations is an underdeveloped area within the sociology of religion, specifically, management research does not yet offer a comprehensive theory for religious organizations (Miller 2006), but it contributes to better understand common phenomenon to all organizations (e.g., Zech 2015). The research on the social and organizational aspects of religion in no way threatens the study of the religious and spiritual aspects of organizations in general. Thus, we may apply different theoretical perspectives regarding the study of management in religious organizations (Weston 2000).

The study of religious organizations has increased over the years (Miller 2002), particularly the research on factors common to other organizations, such as resources and strategies (Miller 2002). Topics such as organizational renewal, the creation of rival organizations by deserters, and the management of alliances are common to both religious leaders and managers. However, there is little preparation by religious organizations’ leaders to deal with strategic management issues (Crittenden et al. 1988) that make them unable to respond to an ever-changing environment. This failure has led to declines in funding, status, and membership with few organizations being able to adopt or adapt to new strategies and goals.

This study applies the theory of organizational culture (Schein 1988; 2010) to religious organizations to study knowledge sharing. The main objective and purpose for this work is to identify the contribution of organizational culture to knowledge sharing in religious organizations. The study of religious organizations may challenge current assumptions and models by applying: a) the theories of religion of nonreligious organizations, and b) the management theories of religious organizations (Miller 2006). Thus, we propose the following research question: “How does knowledge sharing occur in religious organizations in light of the theory of organizational culture?”. The remainder of this manuscript is structured as follows: The next section shows a review of literature on knowledge and knowledge sharing; Schein's organizational culture theory and Catholic organizations. The following section describes the methodological procedures adopted in this study regarding data collecting, analysis and obtained results; the final section reports the limitations and future research.

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