Dual-executive structures in religious non-profit organizations

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Virginia Tech

Dual-executive organizational structures are a little noted phenomenon in the religious sub-sector of the non-profit sector. These structures are ones with an administrative and religious executive both of whom answer directly to the organization’s governing board. Although dual-executive structures are known to exist, no one has so far attempted to determine the extent of their existence or the implications of their use for organization life and dynamics in the religious sub-sector. This study used a survey, sent to 150 Evangelical Lutheran and Episcopal Church congregations, to increase our knowledge of the extent of use and certain organizational implications of dual-executive structures among a sample of churches.

The study had three key findings. First, it found two examples of dual executive structures. Secondly, the results suggested that national church structure may not correlate with dual executive structure use. Third, the research suggested that dual-executive structures may evidence clear division of responsibilities. Due to the study’s small sample size and is examination of evidence of the existence of dual executive structures in only two churches, these results must considered tentative and limited.