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John Rogers

Diplômé DBA - 2021

Titre de thèse

How do faith-based organizations mobilize technological tools to express spiritual goals in the context of fulfilling their mission?


Gazi Islam
Purpose Technology, with its distinctive characteristics that result from the unique affordances that underpin it, is seen by faith leaders as fundamentally contributing to the fulfilling of spiritual goals. However, we currently have limited understanding of how faith-based organizations mobilize technological tools to express spiritual goals in the context of fulfilling their mission. The study will help reveal the thought process behind how church leadership views various types of technology, and will try to uncover some of the underlying potential causes responsible for these views. We wish to discover why a technology is perceived to be in-line with an organization’s mission and purpose, and how the application of that technology may even lead to the satisfying of spiritual goals. Design/methodology/approach Drawing on in-depth qualitative studies conducted at several faith-based organizations including interviews, church observations, and attendance, this research shows how and why faith-based organizations view and implement technological tools, and how novel spiritual goals are met and relate to the a) internal implementation of new technologies and b) sharing of the religious texts, all under the prerequisite of faith. Under the theoretical lens of sociomateriality, we will come to better understand that the role and function of particular objects can change during the course of collaboration. Findings Church leadership, in order overcome the inherent limitations in a non-material dimension such as spirituality, turn to material means for knowledge and spiritual dissemination. What we have discovered is that material means such as technologies, interlinking with social constructs and religious texts, lays the architecture for spiritual dissemination if applied in their authentic production and demonstration. The paper goes on to build upon a view of obtaining spiritual goals as an on-going flow that, following an initial ‘creative impulse’, ripples through the sociomaterial entanglements of a particular setting, reconfiguring them in the process and spreading out in time and space in often unexpected ways. Research limitations/implications The intentions of the study were primarily to undertake an initial exploration, through a sociomaterial approach, of the relations between spirituality and technology and the ontological associations and articulations involved in this relationship. Future introductions of previously researched topics (rediscovered as “spaces of possibles”) will allow us to link spirituality to established theory, thus further revealing how spirituality affects many spaces such as individuality, regional dynamics, and religious affiliation— and will help enable future collaborations between the secular and the sacred.Practical implications The managerial community should be particularly interested in the topic because it provides insight to leaders in religious organizations on what some of the fundamental questions and building blocks are regarding technology acceptance. The sociomaterial view of spiritual goals suggests that there are multiple agents at work in relation to contributing to spiritual goal fulfillment in an individual. While spirituality in faith-based organizations bring a fairly unique perspective, our insights into technology acceptance in this space could be utilized and interwoven with existing research for non-religious organizations.Social implications This research is of importance, as it touches two areas of life that have had profound impact on our culture and even our existence: technology and religion. What happens when these two areas overlap? The seemingly adverse natures between spirituality (non-material) and technology (material) draws our attention to explore this (sociomaterial) relationship. Herein we observe a dichotomy: the perfect spiritual element that brings with it life transformation is delivered through fallible,