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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,


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 version of the article has been accepted for publication, after peer review (when applicable) and is subject to Springer Nature’s AM terms of use, but is not the Version of Record and does not reflect post-acceptance improvements, or any corrections. The Version of Record will be available online at:
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
[thumbnail of SBE resubmission.pdf] Text - Accepted Version
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