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Two definitions of collegiality and their inter-relation : The case of a Roman Catholic diocese - E. Lazega, O. Wattebled

Emmanuel Lazega
ORIO/IRISSO-CNRS, université Paris-Dauphine et CMH, ENS Jourdan, place du Maréchal-de-Lattre-de-Tassigny, 75775 Paris cedex 16, France

Olivier Wattebled
CLERSE, faculté des sciences économiques et sociales, université des sciences et technologies de Lille-1, bâtiment sh2, 59655 Villeneuve-d’Ascq cedex, France

Available online 21 October 2011 on ScienceDirect

Against the backdrop of the conflict observed between managers and professionals, two definitions of collegiality emerge : on one hand, a specific organizational form (bottom up) and, on the other, a procedure of bureaucratic management (top down). A study of networks of priests in a Roman Catholic diocese in France is used to explore how those two definitions are related. Questions are raised as to the effects of a too narrow organizational rationalization that uses collegiality only as a top down, bureaucratic, managerial procedure. This always entails the risk of making the work done by experts sterile because it overlooks the first type of collegiality, which is based on the nature of non-routine tasks that members perform together thanks to an endogenous organizational structure of a bottom up type.

Keywords : Bureaucracy ; Bottom up collegiality ; Top down collegiality ; Roman Catholic Church ; Networks ; Priests ; Experts ; Professionals ; France

Article Outline

  • 1. The background to the conflict between managers and professionals
  • 2. Collegiality : a specific form of organization or a tool for bureaucratic management ?
  • 3. The case of a Roman Catholic diocese
  • 4. Bottom up collegiality : back to the notion of a specific organizational form
    • 4.1. Priests’ pastoral activity : the collegial construction of religious offers
    • 4.2. The relational structure of the system of social exchange among priests
    • 4.3. The endogenous emergence of heterogeneous forms of status among the priests
  • 5. Top down collegiality : the bureaucratic management of the diversity of Catholic offers
  • 6. The micro-political overlap of the two faces of collegiality
  • Acknowledgements
  • Appendix 1. Four name generators which allowed us to reconstitute the social networks of the priests in the diocese
  • Appendix 2. Density tables associated with the exchange system
  • References

Sociologie du Travail
Volume 53, Supplement 1, November 2011, Pages e57-e77
Translated by Gabrielle Varro