Symbols of Dysfunction, Strategies for Renewal

Author: Jeffrey Raymond Pugh

Pugh, Jeffrey Raymond, 2006 Symbols of Dysfunction, Strategies for Renewal, Flinders University, School of Humanities and Creative Arts

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This thesis is an exploration of five church communities, three of which are represented in depth. These communities have as a common narrative plot a period of significant decline followed by renewal and growth.The frameworks employed to understand these corporate narratives are an Organizational Culture, a Family Systems and an Organizational Psychological lens. The efficacy of each lens is assessed as to its ability to interpret each narrative coherently. Then the narratives are interpreted with all lenses used in parallel. The results of the thesis indicate that periods of decline were associated with certain dysfunctions, particularly Bion like basic assumptions, neurotic constellations or control cultures. Pastors and congregations are both idealized or demonized in the inner theatres of the community psyche. In periods of renewal, more rational and 'depressive' engagements with the environment of the church are indicative of strategic ministry that supplies both a more adequate holding environment and significant transitional objects that assist community maturation. Moreover, these maturational processes also reonnate with what is to be expected of a church community that exhibits the process attributes of an orthodox version of the Triune community.

Keywords: culture renewal,group fantasy,theology,organizational psycho-dynamics

Subject: Theology thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2006
School: School of Humanities and Creative Arts
Supervisor: Dr. Neil Pembroke