Calling and Leader Identity

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This presentation gives an overview of my research on the topic of calling. This was taken from my dissertation defense. Please leave me a comment on my blog if you make it through this to let me know what you think, letting me know whether my 5 Stage Calling Development Model resonates with your own experience.

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  • Thanks Markow for your informative and eye opening research findings. I wanted to know whether the 'command and control' form of leadership is the cause for people being hindered from doing their calling.
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    alexge100@rediffmail.com
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Calling and Leader Identity

  1. 1. Calling and Leader Identity: Utilizing Narrative Analysis to Construct a Stage Model of Calling Development Frank Markow, Ph.D. March, 2007
  2. 2. Research Question <ul><li>This research was driven by a set of salient research questions based on the purposes and assumptions about the role of calling in the leader's life. The key research question is </li></ul><ul><ul><li>&quot;How is one's identity as a leader shaped by his or her sense of calling?&quot; </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Research Questions <ul><li>This omnibus question can be partitioned into several other, more specific questions: </li></ul><ul><li>How do leaders experience and explain their sense of calling? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the antecedents and contextual elements of calling? </li></ul><ul><li>What contextual factors (e.g., significant relationships, organizational support, environment, etc.) impact the development of leader's sense of call? </li></ul>
  4. 4. Research Questions <ul><li>How does the leader's organization promote or hinder the development of their call? </li></ul><ul><li>Can a typology of calling narratives be established? This would include dimensions such as intensity (strong vs. weak), clarity (clear vs. uncertain), specificity (to a certain activity vs. general), and congruity with life goals (congruous vs. incongruous). </li></ul><ul><li>Can a prototypical calling narrative be constructed out of a series of individual experiences of calling? </li></ul>
  5. 5. Literature Review – Calling in the Christian Tradition <ul><li>The idea of call and vocation are categories that the Christian tradition has long used to address issues about one's place and purpose in the world. </li></ul><ul><li>Central to the Christian interpretations of vocation is &quot;the idea that there is something - my vocation or calling - God has called me to do with my life, and my life has meaning and purpose at least in part because I am fulfilling my purpose&quot; (Plachard, 2005, p. 2) </li></ul>
  6. 6. Literature Review – Calling in the Christian Tradition <ul><li>Biblical Sources </li></ul><ul><li>There is no one passage that defines calling in either the Old or New Testaments. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In the Old Testament the term translated into English as calling (Hebrew qara ) and commonly refers to &quot;naming&quot; or &quot;calling by name,&quot; and often refers to God speaking to his Chosen people, the nation of Israel (Farrer, 1996, p. 159). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In the New Testament, the term &quot;to call&quot; (Greek kalein ) is used frequently to describe Jesus' summons of his disciples, as he variously asks them to follow him or be with him. Believers were a special people; God has &quot;called you out of darkness…now you are the people of God&quot; (1 Peter 2:9-10, TNIV). </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Literature Review – Calling in the Christian Tradition <ul><li>Christian History </li></ul><ul><li>Plachard (2005) defines several historical periods in history in which the interpretation of calling changed. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In the early centuries of Christianity, one's calling was simply whether or not to become a Christian, and how public one should be in acknowledging his or her faith, when there could be risk in doing so. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In the middle ages, the notion of having a vocation meant almost exclusively joining the priesthood or some other monastic order and choosing to live in a monastery or as a wandering friar. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>After the Reformation, notions of calling became more complex. One could be called to a monastery, but also to government, commerce, crafts, farming or anything else. Your job was your vocation, and one was to live with God in the world, not sequestered in a monastery. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Eventually the notion of vocation became divorced from its spiritual roots. Notes Guiness (1998), &quot;Eventually the day came when faith and calling were separated completely. The original demand that each Christian should have a calling was boiled down to the demand that each citizen should have a job&quot; (p.40). Postmodernist question the validity of a “calling” in the face of corporate alienation. </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Literature Review – Calling in the Christian Tradition <ul><li>Calling in the Pentecostal tradition </li></ul><ul><li>The Pentecostal tradition has used the idea of calling primarily as a call &quot;to preach,&quot; that is, a call to make full-time ministry their career (Cross, 2002). Pentecostals still believe that God is present and active in the world, and that He speaks, offers direction and guidance. Notes Cross (2002): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Calling, then took on a very specific and particular meaning for the movement. It was usually reserved for preachers or missionaries or ordained ministers, but less frequently appears as a summons to laity for a particular religious task.” </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Literature Review – Calling in the Christian Tradition <ul><li>Calling in the Pentecostal tradition </li></ul><ul><li>The Pentecostal view emphasizes an understanding of spiritual gifts which are given to believer to prepare them for special acts of ministry service (Cross, 2002). </li></ul><ul><li>A proper understanding of a Pentecostal view of calling, then, requires an integration of both the understanding of the empowerment and presence of the Holy Sprit in the life of the believer, as well as the endowment with special gifts that allow the believer to properly carry out his or her calling. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Literature Review – Career Theory <ul><li>The notion of calling emerged in the organizational literature initially as a subset of career theories (Hall & Chandler, 2005). Calling has been referred to as subjective career success (Dobrow, 2004; Hall & Chandler, 2005). </li></ul><ul><li>Subjective career success has in the past been most commonly operationalized as either job or career satisfaction (Heslin, 2005). </li></ul><ul><li>Other relevant constructs are work involvement and identification , referring to one’s subjective sense of identity with his or her job or career (Lodhal & Kejner, 1965). </li></ul>
  11. 11. Literature Review – Dimensions of Calling <ul><li>Various writers have identified dimensions of calling. Dobrow (2004), Weiss et al (2004), Novak (1996) and McNeal (2000) have described the following as aspects of a personal sense of calling: </li></ul><ul><li>Passion for one's work that energizes and sustains </li></ul><ul><li>Identity centers on their sense of calling </li></ul><ul><li>Sustains over the life of the individual </li></ul><ul><li>Consumes the ambitions and goals of one's life </li></ul><ul><li>Gives meaning to work and this meaning is self-relevant </li></ul><ul><li>“ Fits&quot; one's skills and abilities </li></ul><ul><li>For service of the community </li></ul><ul><li>Unique to the individual </li></ul><ul><li>Discovered through reflection, prayer, feedback from others and trial activities </li></ul>
  12. 12. Literature Review - Calling and Identity <ul><li>McNeal (2000), among others, links calling and identity and asserts that calling involves one's identity being subsumed to a greater sense of mission. </li></ul><ul><li>Since calling is a source of personal meaning (Fry, 2003), and identity involves, among other things, personal meaning making (Leary & Tangney, 2003), it is posited for this research that calling and identity are related concepts that may inform and reciprocate one another, and that looking at the two concepts in juxtaposition may lead to a better understanding of both. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Using Narrative to Understand Identity <ul><li>Sarbin (1986) proposed what he calls the narratory principle , the idea that human beings think, perceive, imagine, interact and make moral choices according to narrative structures. </li></ul><ul><li>Ricouer (1992) argues that the self only comes into being in the process of telling a life story. </li></ul><ul><li>Self narratives are </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ the individual's account of the relationship among self-relevant events across time. In developing a self-narrative the individual attempts to establish coherent connections among life events…the individual attempts to understand life events as systematically related…a sensible result of a life story.” (Gergen & Gergen 1986, p. 255) </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Research Method <ul><li>Research Participants </li></ul><ul><li>12 one-on-one semi-structured interviews were conducted with pastors with a proven record of leadership ability demonstrated via lengthy and successful service, and who indicate that they have been called. </li></ul><ul><li>The scope of these pastor’s responsibility (leadership level) ranged from average churches of 100 members, to mega churches with several thousand members and district-level leadership </li></ul>
  15. 15. Research Method <ul><li>Data Analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Interviews were professionally transcribed. These ranged from one to three hours long and yielded approx 330 pages of textual data </li></ul><ul><li>A list of thematic codes (Boyatzis, 1998) was developed from an examination of the data and was the starting point for further data analysis. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Research Method <ul><li>Interview Protocol </li></ul><ul><li>Question 1: Life chapters / ministry career history. </li></ul><ul><li>Question 2: Key events - critical or significant episodes, turning points, epiphanies, etc. from each chapter of their stories </li></ul><ul><li>Question 3: Significant people - particularly people who intersected with their sense of calling. </li></ul><ul><li>Question 4: Future script - plans, goals, aspirations, hopes, and dreams for the future that relate to one's ministry. </li></ul><ul><li>Question 5: Life theme – a message or idea that ran throughout the entirety of their narrative as previously described. (It was notable that most self-described life themes had little resemblance to the previous stories.) </li></ul>
  17. 17. Results <ul><li>Individual level themes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Since everyone has a different life story, it is not surprising that each story seemed to revolve around certain themes unique to the individual. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In each individual case a specific issue presented itself and recurred throughout the story in a &quot;theme and variation&quot; pattern. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The individual theme usually presented themselves early on in the interview </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Table 3 lists all unique themes found in the particular </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Results <ul><li>Individual level themes </li></ul>Participant Main Theme Secondary theme David Reconciliation with f a ther Isaac Finding som e one to trust Letting go of career aspir a tions Franz Strong women fi g ures Getting out of po v erty Ken Separating from a controlling mothe r Am I am mus i cian or pastor ? Edward Mexican family culture infl u ence The good Boy Scout & obed i ent son Carl The outcast with no friends Role a m bivalence Heath It was bad, but I'm O.K. now Being an entrepreneur / wre s tling with g o ing into business Luke Finding a father figure who would give me a p proval Struggle to be &quot;mature&quot; / diff i culty co n fronting elders / fears Bernard Making money / breaking away from business Education plans being thwarted Jacob The Word becomes real, and so I must now show you this Gerard Changing gangs Destroyed by Arthur Abraham Breaking away from the co n trol of mother and pastor Being embraced by the Denomination
  19. 19. Results <ul><li>Universal themes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Themes clustered in to five discernable life stages. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stage 1 – Pre-call antecedents / family / life circumstances – Awaiting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stage 2 - Recognition of the call through spiritual awakening or involvement - Awakening </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stage 3 - Realization of the call through experience, mentoring, and /or preparation for vocational service - Actualizing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stage 4 - Struggle to separate from previous roles and identities / dealing with &quot;pre-call&quot; stage issues - Anguishing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stage 5 - Identity integration and role merger of faith and work / subsequent wrestling with preferred roles / possible selves - Acceptance </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Stage 1 – Pre-call antecedents / family / life circumstances <ul><li>Most felt that childhood was important because it often set the stage for latter events which were germane to their call. </li></ul><ul><li>Theme 1a. Congruous Early Environment </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Supported their faith values and beliefs, either those held as a child or those latter adopted as an adult. The &quot;good Christian home&quot; or church-going family is typical of this stage. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Theme 1b. Rebellion. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>These participants described a time when they left home, became involved in drug use, other religions or no religion at all. This was often accompanied by tumultuous or hostile home environments, but not always. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Theme 1c. Early leadership opportunities. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>More than half of the sample indicated that they were involved as a leader in their early years, some even beginning at grade school. Some indicted that they always felt like leaders, or were at least never aware of a specific time when they &quot;became&quot; a leader. It was just something they naturally did. </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Stage 2 - Recognition of the call through spiritual awakening or involvement <ul><li>This second stage covers the years that the participants typically became aware of the fact that they had a call. </li></ul><ul><li>Theme 2a. Calling as an epiphany / supernatural signs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The individual was able to recount a specific time and place in which they were called. It was often in a &quot;spiritual&quot; environment (e.g. at a church youth camp, a time of prayer or reflection, etc.), was accompanied by a spiritual or supernatural experience (a vision, the voice of God speaking to the soul, etc.) and was often reinforced subsequently by other phenomena - for example, a special &quot;prophetic&quot; statement spoken by another person which confirmed the initial epiphany. </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Stage 2 - Recognition of the call through spiritual awakening or involvement <ul><li>Theme 2b. Calling as a by-product of serving. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>There was no specific epiphany as seen above, but rather a sense that, over time, this was what he was supposed to do with his life. Some of these participants, almost apologetically, confessed that they had no special calling experience per se, but still insisted that they were called. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>For some, this realization that they had been called began immediately after their conversion experience, a sense that they knew that conversion also meant a call to ministry. </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. Stage 3 - Realization of the call through experience, mentoring, and /or preparation for vocational service <ul><li>In this stage, the participants describe a series of events, experiences, people or preparation activities that supported the fulfillment of their calling. These sub-themes are: </li></ul><ul><li>Theme 3a. Having a Personal Mentor. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This person was often a pastor, ministry leader, teacher, or parent. For some, this person served as a surrogate father figure, helping them to find meaning in their life of faith or fulfilling a role that their natural father did not. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Theme 3b. Mentored from Afar. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>For some, their mentors were temporary, casual, or viewed from afar. Some, as part of large churches, had limited access to their senior pastors, but still considered these men as an important part of their development. For some, books and school served as a mentor, whole others mentioned famous or celebrity pastors or teachers with whom they knew only through their television or radio personas. </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. Stage 3 - Realization of the call through experience, mentoring, and /or preparation for vocational service <ul><li>Theme 3c. College to Prepare. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Most of those who described an epiphany-type calling also described the need to go to college to prepare for their future ministry. Since they knew they were called, the next logical step was to get the training they needed for ministry through Bible college, a route that was fairly standard for those entering ministry in the era these men served. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Theme 3d. College to Discover. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Others went to college to discover or confirm whether or not they had been called. For these, Bible college was a place where they could grow in their personal knowledge and devotion &quot;just in case&quot; they had been called. </li></ul></ul>
  25. 25. Stage 3 - Realization of the call through experience, mentoring, and /or preparation for vocational service <ul><li>Theme 3e. Newfound Passion for Serving </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It was often the case that the participant experienced a period in which they eagerly desired to be involved in ministry, often as a volunteer. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Theme 3f. Success in ministry. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Many describe periods of great fruitfulness and success in ministry which served to confirm that they were on the right track. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Theme 3g. Supernatural or Spiritual Indicators. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Most of the participants recalled witnessing or being part of &quot;supernatural&quot; events which caused a confirmation of their call. Dreams, visions, prophetic pronouncements made by others, and witnessing miraculous healings all served to somehow confirm that they had been called. </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. Stage 4 - Struggle to separate from previous roles and identities / dealing with &quot;pre-call&quot; stage issues <ul><ul><li>This next stage is characterized by two phenomena: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>a personal conflict with a significant character in their story (a mentor, parent, a pastor, etc.) and </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>a struggle to release a previous role or identity. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  27. 27. Stage 4 - Struggle to separate from previous roles and identities / dealing with &quot;pre-call&quot; stage issues <ul><li>Theme 4a. Personal Conflict and Release. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The vast majority of the participants (all but two) recounted an incident in which they had to confront an important person on their lives, come to some sort of resolution to the conflict, and as a result, felt of new sense of individuality or liberty to move ahead with their life and calling. They were transformational moments in which they gained a renewed sense of self, confidence and maturity which propelled them forward to enact their callings. </li></ul></ul>
  28. 28. Stage 4 - Struggle to separate from previous roles and identities / dealing with &quot;pre-call&quot; stage issues <ul><li>Theme 4b. Identity Conflict and Release. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In addition to these interpersonal conflicts and resolution accounts, a vast majority (all but one) of the participants recounted struggling with previous roles and identities, those that stood in contrast or somehow prevented them from embracing heir sense of calling. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Many, even those with a strong confidence in their call to ministry, seem to struggle with separating from (or perhaps integrating) roles and identities developed prior to their sense of calling to ministry. </li></ul></ul>
  29. 29. Stage 5 - Identity integration and role merger of faith and work / subsequent wrestling with preferred roles / possible selves <ul><li>This stage came primarily from the portion of the narrative describing their hopes and plans for the future, the &quot;next chapter&quot; of their life stories. </li></ul><ul><li>Theme 5a. Satisfaction with Current Role </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A minority of individuals expressed contentment with their current roles, that what they were currently doing was a good expression of their calling, and that they had no desire or intent to change roles. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Theme 5b. Dissatisfaction with Current Role </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A majority expressed a desire for or anticipation of a change in role. Often the individual would harkens back to a previous role, as if wondering aloud if they should re-engage in this role. </li></ul></ul>
  30. 30. Cross-Case Prototypical Calling Narratives <ul><ul><li>Three types of calling narratives can be seen. In keeping with the employed narrative methodology, these were organized according to Plummer (1995), who identified the common elements of narrative plots: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>suffering that gives tension to the story </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>a crisis or turning point or epiphany </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>a transformation . </li></ul></ul></ul>
  31. 31. Type I calling narrative <ul><li>Suffering </li></ul><ul><ul><li>My parents were not perfect, but they were wonderful role models for me growing up. I saw them serve in ministry, and they encouraged me from an early age in my faith. I had many opportunities to exercise leadership at an early age, and was often looked up to as a leader by my peers. But I struggled to find my place in the world. Should I go in to ministry? Business? Music? I was not sure of my life's direction. </li></ul></ul>
  32. 32. Type I calling narrative <ul><li>Crisis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Once I made a deeper commitment to my faith, things began to change. I was re-energized by a sense of calling, and began serving in ministry. My calling was confirmed by others, and I experienced great success in ministry which served to further confirm that I had been called. Some very spiritual and even supernatural encounters also helped to confirm my sense of calling. I had others who guided me, but mostly those I only knew from afar but who influenced me nevertheless. Gaining an education was something that helped me to prepare for my calling in ministry. </li></ul></ul>
  33. 33. Type I calling narrative <ul><li>Crisis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>During this time of preparation a crisis hit. I was confronted by the fact that someone I knew and respected was now a &quot;road block&quot; to my emerging sense of calling. This strained relationship seemingly prevented me from moving ahead with my calling. To further complicate things, I was struggling to let go of my previous identity. For years I had developed and nurtured an image of myself, and now the calling in my life was challenging that image. It was so hard to let go of this person who I always thought I was. </li></ul></ul>
  34. 34. Type I calling narrative <ul><li>Transformation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Eventually I was able to overcome these crises. When I finally confronted this person who was the road block, I felt liberated and free to fully pursue my calling. I stood up to them, confronted my own fears about them, and was able to move forward confidently in my calling. Further, I was able to deal with my previous identity conflict and accept the new identity that my calling has placed on me. I now stand confident in my calling, my current role, and look forward to the future as I teach the next generation and other leaders. </li></ul></ul>
  35. 35. Type II / III calling narrative <ul><li>Type I & II calling narratives are similar enough in their initial setting and in their final status as to be conflated into one narrative. </li></ul><ul><li>Suffering </li></ul><ul><ul><li>My parents did the best they could, but their best was not good enough for me. My parents were not particularly affirming, and they sought to control our family life in general, me in particular. I had many opportunities to exercise leadership at an early age, and was often looked up to as a leader by my peers. My early adult years were fraught with rebellion, and I went my own way, away from my family. This caused me and my family pain, and I was unsure of my life's direction. </li></ul></ul>
  36. 36. Type II / III calling narrative <ul><li>Crisis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Once I made a commitment to my faith, things began to change. I was re-energized by a new sense of calling, which I became aware of in both natural and supernatural ways. I developed a passion to serve in ministry. My calling was confirmed by others, and I experienced great success in ministry which served to further confirm that I had been called. Some very spiritual and even supernatural encounters also helped to confirm my sense of calling. I had others who guided me and taught me, both those I grew to personally know and love, and those I only knew from afar but who influenced me nevertheless. Gaining an education was something that helped me to both learn more about ministry and confirm that I had been called. </li></ul></ul>
  37. 37. Type II / III calling narrative <ul><li>Crisis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Then the crisis hit. I was confronted by the fact that someone I knew and respected was now a &quot;road block&quot; to my emerging sense of calling. This strained relationship seemingly prevented me from moving ahead fully with my calling. To further complicate things, I was struggling to let go of my previous identity. For years I had developed and nurtured an image of myself, and now the calling in my life was challenging that image. It was so hard to let go of this person who I always thought I was. </li></ul></ul>
  38. 38. Type II / III calling narrative <ul><li>Transformation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Eventually I was able to overcome these crises. When I finally confronted this person who was the road block, I felt liberated and free to fully pursue my calling. I stood up to them, confronted my own fears about them, and was able to move forward confidently in my calling. Further, I was able to deal with, at least temporarily, my previous identity conflict and accept the new identity that my calling has placed on me. I still struggle though with this previous identity - it seems to keep creeping back in to my life, seemingly wanting to propel me in a new direction, and often causes me to feel discontent in my current role. Yet, I still stand confident in my calling. </li></ul></ul>
  39. 39. A General Psychological Structure of Calling and Leader Identity Formation <ul><li>The impact of the childhood and early adult years. </li></ul><ul><li>The early years of those called as ministry leaders impacts their later identities in several ways: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If they perceive their childhood and teen years positively, then these years seem to have been nurturing and safe places for them to develop or consider the possibility of being called. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A negative or non-supportive environment also impacts the leader's latter identity, in that they have an important emotional or relational hurdle to overcome, and by doing so they are forced to take a stand for independence and control over their lives. </li></ul></ul>
  40. 40. A General Psychological Structure of Calling and Leader Identity Formation <ul><li>Awakening to the call </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The less prevalent way is to have a singular event, typically in the context of a spiritual activity, which seemingly reveals through divine means that the person is called. Visions, prophetic messages spoken by others, an epiphany while meditating on Scripture, or a subjective impression that God has personally spoken to them, are all means of &quot;receiving a call.“ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The other means in which one comes to an awareness of a calling comes in a much less &quot;spiritual&quot; way, and is gradually discerned over time in the context of heavy ministry involvement. This calling is propelled by a strong desire to be involved in ministry, an eagerness to do anything or everything their hands find to do that is related to ministry. </li></ul></ul>
  41. 41. A General Psychological Structure of Calling and Leader Identity Formation <ul><li>Interpersonal conflict and resolution. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In the course of their lives, those with a calling seem to have someone, whether a parent, a pastor, a boss, etc. that serves as a sort of nemesis. This person serves to foil their plans to reach their goal of fulfilling a calling. Examples include a controlling mother, a controlling or manipulative pastor, or an abusive or neglectful father. In all personal narratives, one person stands out in this sort of role. Further, only when this person (or their impact upon the individual) is finally confronted can the called individual move confidently into assuming their emerging identity. </li></ul></ul>
  42. 42. A General Psychological Structure of Calling and Leader Identity Formation <ul><li>Identity conflict and resolution. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Those with a sense of calling are like everyone else in that, from early in life, they begin to form an identity, often based on their culture, skills and abilities, physical traits, occupational role, etc. For those with an emerging sense of calling, this previous identity presents a formidable obstacle. Because their previous identity is deeply embedded, when confronted with a new and spiritually and religiously motivated identity, tension inevitably occurs. Those with a sense of calling will, at least initially, try to merge their former identity with their identity as one called. Inevitably though they seek to relinquish this former identity and completely assume the new. It may be the case that a failure to do so causes ongoing identity conflict, unmet expectations, unfulfilled aspirations, and general sense that they are not doing what they are &quot;suppose&quot; to be doing. </li></ul></ul>
  43. 43. A General Psychological Structure of Calling and Leader Identity Formation <ul><li>Identity integration and role merger of faith. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>For some, there is expressed satisfaction with their role, it is a good &quot;fit&quot; for their sense of calling, it is &quot;them&quot; and they have no intention of changing. They seem to have achieved engagement, that simultaneous expression of their preferred self and their work role (Kahn, 1990). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>However, some express dissatisfaction with their current role, feeling that there is still something else, something better still out there for them to obtain. These individuals often wrestle with another side of their identity that is not given full expression in their current role. This other identity may be one that they have not fully jettisoned in their previous awakening or actualization stages. Former identities seemingly haunt these individuals, with regrets of what should or could have been had they only pursued things differently. For others, this lack of contentment seems to be from the possibility of unexplored possible selves (Markus & Nurius, 1986). </li></ul></ul>
  44. 44. Comparison with other theories <ul><li>Positive organization studies and job satisfaction </li></ul><ul><li>While calling appears as a subject of interest in POS, the current research demonstrates that those who express a sense of call often struggle to embrace and enact this calling in their lives, and that it may not be an exclusively &quot;positive&quot; experience. While calling has been considered &quot;extreme subjective career success,&quot; a majority of those in this study often struggle to feel successful. </li></ul><ul><li>Staw and his associates have substantial research which indicates that job satisfaction (or the lack thereof) is a fairly stable trait. The current research may indicate that even those with an expressed sense of call may not be immune from this phenomenon, and still struggle to find job satisfaction. </li></ul><ul><li>While Lee, Sirgy, Efraty & Seigel (2003) have shown a connection between spiritual well being and job satisfaction, this may not be the same thing as calling and job satisfaction, or that calling and spirituality should be considered differently in terms of the satisfaction outcome variable. </li></ul>
  45. 45. Comparison with other theories <ul><li>Stage models of development </li></ul><ul><li>Levinson (1978, 1986) suggested a punctuated equilibrium model of life development based on chronological age in which careers were seen to consist of periods of stability and growth, along with periods of transition and reappraisal. </li></ul><ul><li>McAdams (1993) posits that identity is dynamic and fluid, and can change due to changing contexts and life changes that come with developmental stages of ones life </li></ul><ul><li>The current research would seem to suggest that those with a sense of calling do go through discernable periods of growth, transition, stability, reappraisal, etc. and that this is a universal phenomenon which all seem to undergo. While Sullivan (1999) challenged stage models as being inadequate for understanding the increasingly complex career environment, it is apparent that those with a calling go through what could be generally referred to as distinct stages of identity development that allows their nascent sense of calling to emerge and solidify. </li></ul>
  46. 46. Comparison with other theories <ul><li>Calling variables </li></ul><ul><li>While the current research did not specifically seek to confirm previously defined characteristics of calling (e.g., sustaining passion, consuming ambition, etc. see Ch. 2) these do not appear to be the participants dominant areas of interest when describing their calling. </li></ul><ul><li>The current research both challenges and expands ideas such as &quot;one's identity centers on their sense of calling.&quot; My findings provide a process by which this can be more fully understood. Because of it’s developmental and evolving nature, calling can be ambiguous and changing, and finding one's calling does not necessarily equal having &quot;arrived&quot; in the search for one's identity. </li></ul><ul><li>The current research suggests that calling is discovered through not just prayer and trial activities, but through the trials of life itself. The discovery of a calling is inextricably linked to the sum and substance of one's life experiences, spiritual or otherwise. </li></ul>
  47. 47. Comparison with other theories <ul><li>Engagement and person-role merger </li></ul><ul><li>Kahn (1990) articulates the notion of engagement , posited to be the harnessing of organization members selves to their work roles. Turner (1976) similarly discusses person-role merger as the integration of one’s identity with their work role. </li></ul><ul><li>While a sense of calling does lead to a higher than typical connection with one's work, it does not necessarily lead to such preferred self and task alignment. Many of the participants lamented that, even though they felt called to their current ministry role, they did not feel particularly satisfied, and that their was another role still on the horizon which they felt was a better expression of the calling. As noted above, a calling is not necessarily a panacea for job satisfaction nor does it ensure person-role merger. </li></ul>
  48. 48. Comparison with other theories <ul><li>Calling models and the tear in the contextual fabric </li></ul><ul><li>This research supports notions of the iterative nature of coming to discover, confirm and evolve in one's calling (e.g. Hall and Chandler, 2005) . Further, many contextual factors did indeed either hinder or facilitate the discovery and enactment of one's calling. </li></ul><ul><li>This current research serves to identify more specifically these contextual factors, and shows how a different set of factors can lead to different calling experiences. These contexts exists at several levels - the macro social context, the micro social contexts and the religious context and environment </li></ul><ul><li>These all served as the social, relational, experiential and ideological fabric from which individuals fashioned their calling narratives and the identities found therein. This research gives clarity to the &quot;dialogical&quot; nature of narrative identity development which occurs within a social context (Murray, 2003; Mishler, 1999). </li></ul>
  49. 49. Comparison with other theories <ul><li>The imago and the preferred self </li></ul><ul><li>McAdams (1993) concept of the imagoes , a personalized and idealized concept of the self which each of us consciously and unconsciously fashions, is also validated and expanded on by this research. While one may have one dominant imago or many, the calling challenges one's previous imagoes, and fully embracing one's calling often comes at the sacrifice of an imago that is seen as incompatible. Even though one may have a calling, the allure of a better imago or possible self (Markus & Nurius, 1986) may still loom on the horizon, causing identity conflict or tension within one's imago set. </li></ul>
  50. 50. Discussion <ul><li>Existing definitions infuse calling with many positive and noble ideals such as meaning, purpose, passion, work with special value, commitment to career, uncovered personal destinies, true understanding of self, and metacompetencies, (e.g. Filley, House & Kerr, 1976, Fleischman, 1994; Fry, 2003; Hall, Zhu & Yan, 2002; McNeal, 2000; Novak, 1996; Palmer, 1999). This research suggests that these are only tangentially part of one’s understanding of calling. </li></ul><ul><li>Instead, individuals typically dwelt over stories of conflict, struggled to relinquish previous hopes and dreams, struggled with personal demons, and questioned where they were going in life. </li></ul>
  51. 51. Discussion <ul><li>I would argue that most of the previous definitions and connotations of calling largely ignore the difficulties, the messiness that having a calling engenders. </li></ul><ul><li>A calling is more often seen as a source of ongoing challenge: a challenge to overcome, persist in the face of obstacles, breach the personal on social conventions that one has come to know, accept an identity that challenges and reconfigures previous self-conceptions, and to find contentment in one's role. </li></ul><ul><li>A more sober definition of calling in light of the evidence uncovered would suggest that a calling is: </li></ul><ul><li>An ongoing process by which one comes to terms with and overcomes both interpersonal conflicts with significant others, and intrapersonal conflicts with the self over competing identities, the result of which is the removal of barriers which would otherwise prevent one from realizing their personal sense of destiny and purpose in life. </li></ul>
  52. 52. Implications for theory and practice <ul><li>The current research demonstrates how qualitative narrative approaches can be applied to open up new levels of understanding and theory development. </li></ul><ul><li>Further, it seeks to impact the field of leadership studies by framing an empirical and inductively grounded constructive-developmental model of calling </li></ul><ul><li>It also seeks to explicitly links extant theories of calling with a new and provocative way of viewing the heretofore little investigated aspects of calling. </li></ul>
  53. 53. Implications for theory and practice <ul><li>Calling does of course have its positive attribute, the ability to provide meaning, passion, purpose, confidence, etc. Yet this is only one side of the calling coin. By a better understanding of the developmental process and struggle one deals with in enacting a calling, theorists and practitioners can temper the desire for the often sought after panacea &quot;satisfaction&quot; or &quot;career success.“ </li></ul><ul><li>In clinical and educational settings this model can help individuals understand and cope with their present circumstances which may be perceived as threatening or challenging the existence of their call. This model can help leaders understand that the &quot;called&quot; go through various stages of &quot;calledness,&quot; an in all likelihood will experience relational and identity conflicts, and that these will serve to further validate and strengthen their call. </li></ul>
  54. 54. Future directions <ul><li>Continued interviews with representative individuals and application of the code to see if it is valid on a larger and less homogeneous sample. </li></ul><ul><li>The development of a structured interview format that would allow gathering additional information in a more expedient way. </li></ul><ul><li>The development of a clear &quot;success&quot; dependant variable, and an additional study which uses a group of those with a perceived calling but who have not met this success. </li></ul><ul><li>The development of a quantitative instrument that would allow access to and assessment of larger (and thus more generalizable) samples. The five stages could be a starting point for this, and sets of items based on these dichotomous criterion variables as noted in Chapter Four. </li></ul>

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