Conversations about Calling
Advancing Management Perspectives
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Conversations about Calling explores management perspectives of the calling construct. Using Max Weber’s seminal work, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, as a starting point, Myers seeks to enrich management perspectives of calling by integrating the contributions of other disciplines to the literature on calling.
While the word 'calling' is casually used as shorthand for 'my ideal job', the calling concept has provoked deeper and varied interest among the secular and spiritual circles of both scholars and practitioners. Structured around the idea of four conversations, the book aims to promote a holistic examination of calling. Each conversation has a different focus, elucidating important dimensions of calling, and together they provide a truly comprehensive view. Part I of the book examines existing conversations in management, while part II explores calling across disciplines and eras, from the 1500s to the present. Finally, part III unifies all conversations in a comprehensive theory, then discusses its application and implications for practitioners and organizations.
With a strong theoretical grounding, the book also incorporates practical applications supported by case studies. Anyone interested in ethics or management and spirituality will benefit from reading this book.
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Table of Contents
Contents: Preface 1. Conversations about Calling I. Management Conversations About Calling, 1980-2012 2. Secular-Individualistic Calling 3. Transcendent Calling 4. Sacred Calling 5. Calling in the Iron Cage II. Other Conversations About Calling 6. Practitioner Perspectives (1980-2012): The Essence of Calling 7. Case Example: Unthinkable 8. Practitioner Perspectives (1980-2012): Calling in Business 9. Ideologies & Industrialism (16th to 21st Centuries) III. Connecting Conversations in Theory and Practice 10. A Cross-cultural Theory of Calling 11. Case Study: Not Your Average Working Joe 12. Cultivating Calling in Emerging and Established Adults
Valerie L. Myers, PhD, is a faculty member at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business at Ann Arbor, USA.
"In a well-researched text, Myers successfully tackles, traces, and connects the fascinating history of "calling," a concept that has distinct intellectual traditions, both sacred and secular, ancient and modern, and academic and popular. Drawing on paradigm-changing religious thinkers such as Calvin and Luther, ground-breaking sociologists such as Max Weber and Robert Bellah, and contemporary business scholars and pop-culture icons, Myers thoughtfully challenges modern scholars and business practitioners to think afresh about callings to life in the marketplace. Conversations about Calling is a timely and welcome contribution to studies on employee engagement, leadership, pro-social behavior, and faith at work." - David W. Miller, Director, Princeton University Faith & Work Initiative; President, The Avodah Institute
"The ability to answer the question "to what am I called?" is foundational to the search for meaning at the interface between person and work. However we might understand vocation or calling, we are unlikely to have plumbed the construct’s rich history across spiritual, psychological, sociological, and organizational perspectives. Here in one readable volume we are given access to this broader intellectual landscape. We are led by a wise guide who has assembled interdisciplinary wisdom providing entrée to a full understanding of a lodestone construct critical to personal fulfillment." - Andre L. Delbecq, Santa Clara University, USA
"The meaning of work is surely one of the most significant issues of modern life – and one of the least discussed, in business schools or in public debate. Valerie Myers’ book opens up a space for us all to talk about it through the idea of calling. Her wonderful book brings together a series of academic disciplines in a way that is reminiscent of classical sociological writing; and it represents everyday working voices in a way that Chicago social historians would be proud of. More than that, though, this book shows us how these various communities can speak to each other, and communicate across theoretical or cultural fences. Theory, history, contemporary working lives, and skilful writing are combined to show how a thoughtful academic book can take readers in new directions. This is a very useful book for anyone puzzled about the nature of work today, and I expect to use it in teaching and research for a long time to come." - Scott Taylor, Ph.D., University of Birmingham, UK
"Brilliant, exquisite, and seminal are just a few of the adjectives to describe Dr. Myers' latest book. Dr. Myers generally leaves no stone unturned as she traverses the minefields of today's most acceptable definitions of "calling" across religious and social science disciplines with the goal of establishing a more encompassing construct on which to base a theory of calling. Academia and learned managers alike will appreciate the scholarship, as well as the modern references that quite remarkably make the ambiguous seem rather transparent. This smartly written book is truly worth the read." - Kent Lugrand, President and CEO, InTouch Credit Union
"Masses of people, blue collar and white collar, are unengaged at work. The personal and corporate costs are staggering. Some people, on the other hand, live and work with a deep sense of meaning. Few topics are more important than finding a calling. Myers gives us a precious gift, a way to understand and pursue meaning in life and in work. I am grateful." - Robert E. Quinn, University of Michigan, USA
"Conversations About Calling is the definitive and comprehensive treatise on the field of calling. This book offers an in-depth review of the historical trends of both secular and spiritual approaches to callings, multi-faith perspectives on calling, inspiring and provocative conversations on calling from the practitioner point of view and much more. Reading this, one would think the author had dedicated a lifetime to the study of theology, another lifetime as an academic, and a third lifetime as a practitioner. Myers weaves these strands into a beautiful tapestry that will enrich any reader’s understanding of calling in a way that makes this field fresh and alive." - Judi Neal, Ph.D., Chairman, Edgewalkers, International
"Valerie Myers’ provocative Conversations about Calling builds on emerging interest among management scholars about a special type of very deeply meaningful work. Myers calls for bringing the sacred and transcendent back into management conversations about callings, arguing for an older, more focused conceptualization of callings. Surprisingly, she argues for such narrowing in order to make our understanding broader and richer; and looks to past scholarship in order to chart out new avenues for research. Myers’ book should be on the reading list of anyone seriously interested in the role of callings at work!" - Michael Pratt, Boston College, USA
"Dr. Myers has done an excellent job of integrating and synthesizing disparate approaches to work as a calling across management and theological disciplines that do not usually interrelate. The book thus fills a unique niche in providing approaches to and examples of work as a calling across a variety of perspectives." - Jerry Biberman, University of Scranton, USA
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