In the service of God and the parish: Professional ideologies and managerial control in the Church of Sweden
Journal article, 2014

Professional ideologies are not only shared norms, beliefs, and values but also ‘operational philosophies’ – actual practices – that both constitute and regulate a professional community. Professional ideologies may both accommodate and even embrace certain managerial practices and counteract them if they are regarded as a threat to professional jurisdictions and other privileges. A study of ministers of the Church of Sweden, the established church in Sweden, demonstrates that new demands for managerial control, deriving from shrinking financial resources as the church loses members, are, on the one hand, recognized in terms of providing a joint perspective on the activities of the parish while, on the other, there is a significant skepticism toward more elaborate evaluation methods and performance metrics. For ministers, religious services must not be regarded as being like any other market-based activity, and the church, as a faith-based organization, needs to carefully position itself vis-à-vis industry and public administration. The study contributes to the professionalism literature, the accounting literature, and the study of faith-based organizations.


Alexander Styhre

University of Gothenburg

Culture and Organization

1475-9551 (ISSN) 1477-2760 (eISSN)

Vol. 20 4 307-329

Subject Categories

Business Administration



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