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Religion in the workplace–Why? April 2, 2007

Posted by Lady in civil society, Organizational Culture, religious organizations.

So after I wrote my last post about Holy Spirit hospital’s “religious” organizational culture, it led to discover the topic for my second writing assignment. I have been pondering the reasoning or motivation for an organization to have a public display of any religious affiliation within their mission statement or business practices. Is religion just being used as a competitive advantage? Or might it be a genuine use of religion because organizations are using their business operations to do God’s will and spread God’s word through their works? More specifically, I am curious to know the type of organizational culture that Holy Spirit hospital has, and I surmised that I can’t figure this out unless I know why they have this religious affiliation—competitive advantage or for the purpose of spreading God’s word.


So I am going to speculate on how two different hospitals would operate and what kind of culture they would have depending on their purpose for the religious affiliation. So I have written up a few paragraphs but I’m kind of stuck on all the things to consider that would be different. Some of the things that I have thought about are the relationships between co-workers; relationships between co-workers and patients; and decision-making such as euthanasia and types of pills to carry (Plan B and HPV vaccine).


Any suggestions on other things to consider within the hospital that would be different between the two organizations? What other situations in the hospital might lead to different decision-making between the two organizations? I know that there are some things that I have just not thought about or considered and hope that your suggestions will help me think further about these differences between the two organizations.


Here are my first two paragraphs, any feedback would be appreciated:


The organizational culture of an organization is basically the personality that is associated with that organization. The existence of religious beliefs and practices within an organization can have many effects on an organization and its culture. Why might an organization choose to allow a religious affiliation to be a part of their organization? What might be their motives? Is the existence of religion being used solely as a competitive advantage? Or is the existence of religion displayed through an organization’s beliefs and practices a subcomponent of a larger movement such as spreading the word of God? Might the motives for the existence of religion lead to the existence of two totally different organizational cultures? I ask these questions because of my specific interest in hospitals that have a religious affiliation evident through their mission statement and business operations. Determining an answer to this question might shed light on the organizational culture of Holy Spirit Hospital and how they run their business.


In order to determine an answer to this question of motivation for displaying a religious affiliation within an organization, I will use an archetype analysis in an attempt to envision two extreme types of hospitals. One hospital will be motivated to use religion in their organization exclusively as a way of spreading the gospel of God’s teachings while the other hospital will be motivated to use religion solely as a competitive advantage. The motivation of the use of religion in their organization will yield two totally different types of organizational culture as well as different business operations.



1. Janine - April 3, 2007

I see many organizations that have a religious affiliation do so because it allows that organization to act in a certain way that is in accordance with the particular religion. I do not think I can see how the religious organization tries to spread God’s word through its practice. I think it is more a structure for how the organization is run.

If you chose to follow you initial route, I would make sure you can support your claim with examples of just how places like Holy Spirit hospital do in fact spread God’s word through their practice.

As for the religious affiliation as a means for competitive advantage, I would make sure you specify how in fact a hospital with a religious name functions and then compare and contrast that with one that does not have this association. See if ones that are religious do better, as in more patients, or more patients with loyalty and positive experiences to that hospital. Perhaps the religious name just makes people feel better knowing that they are going to a place named after a saint, or relating to God. Maybe there is no difference in care between the two types of hospitals? Do people always have achoice about which hospital they go to if they are in an emergency, and what if they went to one that had beliefs opposing their personal ideologies? These questions may pose no relevance, or they could be additional things to question.

This is an interesting topic. I am curious to see if and how hospitals use their name.

2. Jordi - April 11, 2007

I never liked the use of “basically the personality” of an organization. Metaphors can be useful, but here it simply seems to cloud what is often a cloudy topic: org culture.

Which question? you state you will seek answer to the question, but you list about five? Giving more of a sense of what the core question is and your answer will strengthen clarity of first paragraph.

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