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Simpson, Peter



Stefan Schwarzkopf


Sorensen et al (2012) argue for the importance of theology in the study of organisations on the basis that 'the way we think about and act in organizations is profoundly structured by theological concepts.' (p.267). In relation to leadership studies Grint (2010) echoes this, perhaps going even further, by suggesting, 'the sacred nature of leadership is not so much the elephant in the room but the room itself - the space that allows leaders to work.' (p.90). This chapter reviews current literature on this theme whilst highlighting one issue of theological significance that tends to be given insufficient attention: the practice of faith. This is not a question of whether personal faith is necessary or unhelpful in theological study, a debate that is addressed in Sorensen et al's (2012: 267) clarification that a theology of organization does not refer to a study 'rooted in faith'. By contrast, it is suggested that faith is an integral part of leadership (Simpson, 1997) that may be practiced by both leaders and followers. An important dimension of this is that the 'object of faith' may vary including, for example, God, Reason, the Leader, Best Practice, and so forth. The practice of faith is understood not as adherence to a dogma but as the social construction of a desired reality, frequently in the absence of requisite knowledge and even when there is evidence to the contrary. The practice of faith thus contributes to leadership in times of uncertainty and anxiety.


Simpson, P. (2019). Leadership. In S. Schwarzkopf (Ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Economic Theology. Routledge

Conference Name Economic Theology
Conference Location Copenhagen Business School, Copenhagen, Denmark
Start Date Jul 8, 2017
End Date Jul 10, 2017
Acceptance Date Jan 23, 2019
Publication Date Sep 1, 2019
Deposit Date Jan 15, 2019
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Series Title Routledge International Handbooks
Book Title The Routledge Handbook of Economic Theology
ISBN 1138288853
Keywords leadership, theology, faith, sacred, authentic, contemplation, attention
Public URL
Additional Information Title of Conference or Conference Proceedings : Economic Theology