Responses to perceived voice in decision-making among congregational members

Willona Olison*, Michael Elwood Roloff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose: Churches require an active congregation to provide services to their members and community. This study aims to examine the conditions under which perceived voice in decision-making is related to church satisfaction and when satisfaction is related to withdrawal. Design/methodology/approach: A total of 193 congregational members from an urban African-American ministry were surveyed about their responses to a recent decision. Findings: Although members without perceived voice within the church were less satisfied when the amount of their financial contributions was high, the same association was not present when it came to the amount of hours spent volunteering within the church. Church members with low satisfaction levels scaled back their involvement in the church and considered terminating their membership. Among those who were dissatisfied, newer church members considered exiting from the church to a greater extent than did long-term members. Research limitations/implications: Because only one congregation was used, the findings might not generalize to congregations drawn from other denominations or who have a different demographic profile. Also, using self-reports about a single critical incident may limit the generalizability of the results. Practical implications: In order to enhance congregational involvement, church leadership should create opportunities for member voice and especially for those who make large financial donations. Originality/value: This is the first study investigating how congregational members react to perceived voice in church decision-making. It also demonstrates how perceived voice is related to financial contributions to churches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)260-275
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Organizational Analysis
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008


  • African Americans
  • Churches
  • Decision making
  • United States of America
  • Voluntary organizations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


Dive into the research topics of 'Responses to perceived voice in decision-making among congregational members'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this