Friday, September 21, 2007

Upper Echelons Theory at work in the Church in Ephesus

Gail Longbotham and Ben Gutierrez have an article in the current issue of the Journal of Biblical Perspectives in Leadership on upper echelons theory and the church in Ephesus. The abstract of this paper reads as follows:

This study relates Proposition 21 of Hambrick and Mason’s (1984) Upper Echelons Theory (UET) to Paul and Timothy’s leadership of the Ephesian church. Proposition 21 states, “In turbulent environments, team heterogeneity will be positively associated with profitability.” Using the texts of Acts, Ephesians, and I and II Timothy, this study demonstrates the merit of this proposition as evidenced in the historical, ministry context of Paul and Timothy as a leadership team in the turbulent environment of the first century and provides rationale for translating these concepts into a contemporary ministry context. A brief sketch of Paul and Timothy’s personal backgrounds (birthplace, family, education, and conversion experience) and leadership experiences provides evidence for the heterogeneity of their leadership relationship. Evidence of heresy and persecution support the contention that theirs was a turbulent environment. The conduct of the Ephesian church in the years after the instruction (documented in Acts, Ephesians, and I and II Timothy) and leadership of Paul and Timothy provides supporting evidence of the profitability of that leadership. A summary of the study, its benefits, and suggestions for future research conclude this study.