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Vocation across the AcademyA New Vocabulary for Higher Education$
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David S. Cunningham

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190607104

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190607104.001.0001

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Coordination, Community, Covenant

Coordination, Community, Covenant

Insights from Organization Theory

(p.133) 6 Coordination, Community, Covenant
Vocation across the Academy

Michael E. Cafferky

Oxford University Press

Higher education’s tendencies toward specialization can affect vocational exploration as well. Mentors and advisors often operate from their own particular perspectives; in the end, the student has to play the role of the “expert” who makes all the decisions. Drawing on organization theory, this chapter underscores the importance of integration and coordination in the vocational reflection process as a means of balancing the needs of the individual with those of the community, thereby promoting a greater awareness of group identity as well as self-identity. Here, the concept of covenant provides a way forward; the various contributors to a person’s vocational discernment can develop relationships that act not simply out of duty or contractual bond, but in a way that promotes the interests of all involved parties. The chapter concludes by examining some concrete ways in which academic institutions can implement more communally-oriented processes of discernment.

Keywords:   vocation, calling, organization theory, coordination, integration, covenant, individual vs. community, specialization, expertise

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