A study of the influential levers used by the Salvation Army in the United Kingdom to secure local centre outcomes in conurbations consistent with its mission and objectives
Mitchinson, Norman John
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Churches face management challenges comparable with those in secular organizations, but with additional dimensions that include the primacy of religious purpose and an inherent concern that excessive managerial focus may inhibit this purpose. This research examined the influential levers – essentially, factors fully or partially within the control of leaders or managers at each level – used in the Salvation Army’s United Kingdom operations to help achieve local outcomes in accordance with its overall mission and objectives. Adopting a primarily phenomenological approach, the research used questionnaire surveys, semi-structured interviews and secondary statistical data to examine views and results at local, divisional and territorial levels, and to assess their implications. Primary data sources consisted of 23 local leaders and managers, 13 local volunteers or employees, 13 divisional or territorial officials, and 4 divisional commanders. The research confirmed the validity and relevance of the concept and (with minor qualifications) its posited components. Leadership was of particular importance, as was an internal spiritual climate. The research is expected to be of direct value to the Salvation Army in the United Kingdom, and potentially to the Salvation Army elsewhere. The concept of influential levers may also have indicative value to churches and other charities – particularly those with locally devolved activities – and to organizations generally.