City Research Online

Entrepreneurship in religious organizations: How the Church of England developed an entrepreneurial orientation

van Werven, R. ORCID: 0000-0002-9336-0069 (2023). Entrepreneurship in religious organizations: How the Church of England developed an entrepreneurial orientation. Small Business Economics, 62(4), pp. 1361-1382. doi: 10.1007/s11187-023-00841-8


Prior research established that religion shapes country-level entrepreneurial activity as well as individual-level entrepreneurial decisions. The organizational level has received less research attention. It is particularly unclear how the combination of entrepreneurship and religion is forged in established religious organizations. Through a historical case study of the Church of England’s efforts towards developing an entrepreneurial orientation (EO), my paper sheds light on that issue. The findings indicate that, in religious settings, an entrepreneurial orientation materializes through a lengthy, contested process. Two mutually reinforcing mechanisms – polysemy dynamics and idea sedimentation – play an important role in this process. I theorize that these mechanisms, despite delaying EO development, address resistance and thereby drive progress towards a comprehensive entrepreneurial orientation.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Publisher Keywords: Religion; Entrepreneurship; Entrepreneurial orientation; Church of England: Archival data
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of s11187-023-00841-8.pdf]
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution International Public License 4.0.

Download (860kB) | Preview
[thumbnail of SBE resubmission.pdf] Text - Accepted Version
This document is not freely accessible due to copyright restrictions.


Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login