Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on ReligionInstitute for Studies of Relgion
IJRR :: 2007 Volume 3 :: Article 2
2007 Volume 3, Article 2
Organizational Niches and Religious Markets: Uniting Two Literatures

Author: Christopher P. Scheitle (Pennsylvania State University)

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Researchers involved in the scientific study of religion have become increasingly aware that religious organizations face certain “external imperatives” (Finke and Stark 1988). Concepts such as religious markets and competition have become commonplace in the literature. Although the organizational ecology literature contains similar propositions and concepts, few explicit connections have been made between these two areas. This article endeavors to unite these two literatures by focusing on the concept of organizational niches. I then apply these concepts and propositions to the question of growth in religious organizations. The analysis shows that niche width and overlap affect religious organizations negatively. In conclusion, I offer further opportunities for connecting the religion literature to the broader organizational literature through the concepts of niches and organizational ecology.

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