Implicit anthropology in theories of management and of leadership : a dialogue with Christian theology
Increasingly the Christian churches are being encouraged to adopt modem management
techniques and leadership styles. The thesis begins from the (tested) assumption that
management and leadership theories carry an implicit anthropology and seeks first to
identify the range of such anthropologies in the most influential theories and then to
construct a critical engagement with Christian theological anthropologies. This thesis
tests the apparent supposition that adoption of such theories is neutral and value-free, by
focusing on the understanding of the ways in which humanity is understood and valued.
An investigation is undertaken to establish the ways in which management theory is
being introduced into churches, and the range of theories being advocated.
Informed by an empirical study, the main management and leadership theories are
grouped into types. These are described, analysed and critiqued to create a
comprehensive review of the theories. Using representative Christian books, the study
identifies the theories and theorists most influencing their writers and establishes how
the secular theories are being deployed. Specifically Christian models, especially of
leadership, are critiqued. Using criteria developed through a study of Christian
theological anthropology, the secular management and leadership theories are also
critically assessed in a treatment that extends in addition to issues of power and idolatry.
The study shows that management theories carry underlying anthropologies and exposes
other assumptions. All the secular theories are shown to be inadequate from a Christian
view of full humanity. At the same time, attempts to articulate theories of management
and leadership in specifiably biblical terms are also shown to be unconvincing.
Moreover, the study shows selection of management theories for consideration and uptake by churches to be haphazard, idiosyncratic and otherwise arbitrarily selective.
Proposals are made concerning more systematic, thoroughgoing and rigorous use of
management and leadership theories in ways that are yet theologically cogent, which
does not confuse ideas of management and those of leadership.