Journal Article

Religious Pluralism and Organizational Diversity: An Empirical Test in the City of Zwolle, the Netherlands, 1851–1914

Christophe Boone, Aleid Brouwer, Jan Jacobs, Arjen van Witteloostuijn and Matthijs de Zwaan

in Sociology of Religion

Published on behalf of Association for the Sociology of Religion

Volume 73, issue 2, pages 150-173
Published in print June 2012 | ISSN: 1069-4404
Published online August 2011 | e-ISSN: 1759-8818 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/socrel/srr034
Religious Pluralism and Organizational Diversity: An Empirical Test in the City of Zwolle, the Netherlands, 1851–1914

Show Summary Details

Preview

This study addresses the question as to why there are so many different kinds of organizations. It puts forth the general proposition that organizational diversity in a community is isomorphic to the heterogeneity of the composition of its population. Given that religion is a fundamental category of identity and association, with potentially far-reaching implications for social structure, we focus on religious pluralism. By linking religious pluralism to organizational diversity for the first time our study contributes to both the sociology of religion and organizational ecology. We propose that religious pluralism spurs organizational diversity, and vice versa. Specifically, denominational pluralism may drive community differentiation with respect to the supply of and demand for different products and services, which ultimately determines community-level organizational diversity. Second, organizational diversity might trigger immigration of people from specific religious denominations, so affecting the community's religious composition in turn. We empirically explore this reciprocal relationship with detailed time series data for the Dutch city of Zwolle in the 1851–1914 period. Our exploratory findings are consistent with our proposition. Avenues for further research are discussed in relationship with some of the limitations of our exploratory case study.

Keywords: religious pluralism; organizational diversity; Zwolle; Netherlands; nineteenth century

Journal Article.  8501 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.