Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Congregations and Social Services: An Analysis of Inter-Organizational Networks
by Brooks, Jacqueline Denise, Ph.D., The Ohio State University, 2008, 185; 10630918
Abstract (Summary)

Like firms, congregations exist within a milieu of social relationships that make up their organizational fields. Within this web of relationships, organizations form ties with one another through partnerships. In this analysis, I evaluate how organizational structure and organizational culture affect the partnerships that congregations build with external social service organizations. In a quantitative analysis of the Organizing Religious Work dataset, I hypothesize that religious tradition, race composition, mission-orientation and governance structure will significantly affect the quantity, strength and diversity of these partnerships. The results show that religious tradition and resource building function as the most significant and pervasive predictors of congregations' partnerships with social service organizations. Mainline Protestant congregations, specifically Liberal Protestant congregations, establish a greater number of partnerships, stronger partnerships and more diverse partnerships with social service organizations than Conservative Protestant and Roman Catholic congregations. Access to capital and a congregation's size increase its visibility in the arena of social services. Black congregations form fewer connections and less diverse connections; however, they do not maintain weaker connections than White congregations. As organizations that seek to accomplish their expressed goals, congregations are strongly influenced by mission-orientation as a significant predictor of their involvement in social services. In the qualitative analysis, I discuss why congregations engage in social services, what they do as providers of social services and who does the work. In addition, I describe how congregations adjust their social service delivery in response to internal and external environmental pressures. Although congregations face many challenges in the provision of social services, they rely heavily on institutionalized notions of Christian charity to guide their charitable actions.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Meyer, Katherine
Commitee: Edwards, Korie, Price-Spratlen, Townsand
School: The Ohio State University
Department: Sociology
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: DAI-A 78/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Sociology
Keywords: Black church, Churches, Congregations, Interorganizational networks, Social services
Publication Number: 10630918
ISBN: 978-0-355-01244-6
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