Turning to Mystery in Institutional Theory: The Jesuit Spiritual Exercises

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Abstract

Previous researchers have argued that material objects reproduce institutional logics on the basis of their durability, immutability and mobility. In this paper we analyze material objects that secure logics not because they reveal meanings and significations, but because they allow individuals and groups to confront the mystery of institutional values. Drawing on extensive historical sources, we analyze a small material object, a book entitled The Spiritual Exercises, and investigate the institutionalization of a practice for discovering what cannot be rendered material, the ineffable mystery of God’s will. We argue that religious logics require objects that present, rather than resolve, the mystery of institutional values. We extend the literature on institutional logics by considering how mystery enables institutions and their logics to embrace difference, adapt and endure for centuries.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalOrganization Studies
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2022