Rediscovering Redemption

Chronicling the work of Redemption in the lives of Followers and Leaders. Articles, research and meditations from the writings of Dr. Joseph J. Bucci. Get blog updates by following Joe on Twitter @Re_Redemption

Joseph J. Bucci

The Latest Research Results: No Difference Between Faith-Oriented Managers and a General Manager Population in Terms of Offering 2nd Chances

Previous research by this author surveyed a group of faith-oriented managers regarding the demonstration of faith in their managerial practices. These managers were asked, given the opportunity to hire former drug addicts, convicts and even those previously terminated from their organizations, if they would be inclined to pursue a redemptive management practice in offering “second-chance” opportunities to these candidates.

The results of the initial research showed that these faith-influenced managers convincingly disagreed with this approach of offering “second-chance” opportunities to these candidates (Bucci and Bruce, 2008). Although the group of managers in this previous research was skewed strongly Protestant, there was a clear indication in the data that managers were strongly influenced by their faith as a guiding principle in their decision-making (M = 3.975). Yet the results of the survey indicated that “second chance” opportunities in the form of hiring former drug addicts and criminals, or even in the rehiring of persons previously terminated for cause from their organizations, was not an activity that was being pursued in these managers’ organizations, nor are these managers seeing this activity if practiced as an effective strategy for their organization (Bucci and Bruce, 2008).

The results of the previous survey suggested that just because managers were strongly influenced by their faith to guide their decision-making did not necessarily mean that the managers felt compelled to offer second chance opportunities to their employees (Bucci and Bruce, 2008). The expression of the manager’s faith in guiding their decision-making as noted in the previous research could have been evidenced in other areas in which the manager was more comfortable expressing their faith. Many side-bar comments and notes indicated that although the premise of following this path of redemptive leadership was a reflection of their faith commitment, many managers in the previous survey were skeptical of the practices working.

As a follow up to the initial survey of faith-oriented managers, the authors opined how the results of the survey data might differ or demonstrate consistency when applied to a group of managers who were outside of this self-selected group. The original survey was conducted in June of 2008 with the approval of Leaders Serving Beaver County, Pennsylvania, a county-wide faith-based organization in western Pennsylvania that promotes business growth and entrepreneurship assistance. The mission of Leaders Serving Beaver County (LSBC) is “to build and maintain an organization of Christian business persons where members can discover how to more fully conduct business successfully in a Christ-like manner with the primary purpose of glorifying God and being a blessing to Beaver County” (LSBC, 2008).

The latest research was a convenience sample of managers surveyed in March of 2013 with the approval of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber represents nearly 2,000 member companies that employ more than 280,000 working men and women. The Chamber extends its programs to 17 cities and counties in Southeastern Virginia. The mission of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce is to serve its members and communities by creating economic prosperity and enhancing the quality of life in the region (HRCOC, 2010).

It was hypothesized in 2008 that leaders with a faith perspective would have a greater inclination to offer second chances due to their faith. With this newer survey group, since the sample was not known to have a faith background, the following proposals were made:
1. There would be a distinctive measurable difference between those with a faith orientation and those without a specified faith orientation taken from the general population (represented by the new sample) in terms of faith-influenced actions taken.
2. There would be a distinctive measurable difference between those with a faith orientation and those without a specified faith orientation taken from the general population (represented by the new sample) in terms of redemptive leadership actions taken.
3. There would be a distinctive measurable difference between those with a faith orientation and those without a specified faith orientation taken from the general population (represented by the new sample) no matter their gender or type of organization.

All managers surveyed, regardless of their faith involvement, were familiar with disciplining an employee demonstrating terminal behavior, and by extension may have had to terminate an employee for cause. The results however confirmed that there was no difference among the managers, whether the managers self-selected as a part of the faith-oriented group or the managers were drawn from a general population, as to whether they felt compelled to offer employee who commit terminal offenses a “second chance” opportunity. As was noted earlier, it is here where there is a limit to the demonstration of the faith expression in terms of offering redemptive “second chance” opportunities. Even in the case where managers described themselves as active in faith activities, meaning that they were familiar with and participated in activities motivated by their faith, there is nothing in the results to suggest that a manager’s involvement in faith activities would have such an influence on the organization’s hiring where the organization would have a greater propensity to rehire employees who were released for terminal offenses.

As was noted earlier, personal faith interactions on the part of the manager do not seem to correlate with a demonstration of faith-influenced decisions like rehiring a terminated worker or hiring an at-risk worker. It was notable that women managers overall more consistently demonstrated a strong employee-centered philosophy, without weighting these responses by faith involvement. Also, the organizations in which women managers worked offered employee assistance referrals to workers exhibiting terminal behavior. Women managers in the survey were more employee-oriented than the male managers surveyed, and were more advocates for their employees.

It is unknown as to whether policies or practices within the organization limited the manager’s ability to pursue this process of reinstatement. It was noted in the data that managers working in a non-profit structure did have a greater opportunity to provide some mechanism in their discipline policy such as a Last Chance Agreement to offer a “second chance” instead of firing an employee for terminal offences. These managers in the non-profit structures did provide “second chance” opportunities more often that all other managers surveyed. However, these non-profit managers also had to deal with the realization that once they have offered redemptive second chance opportunities to employees, these employees more often left their organizations less than 6 months afterwards.

It was noted in the results that faith-oriented managers more often allow faith to guide their decision-making. However, the survey results suggest that there was no noticeable difference in faith-oriented managers as compared to a group of managers from a general population regarding the offering of second chance opportunities. Yet there is literature from both faith-oriented and non-faith oriented authors which supports and encourages the actions of the manager to consider a redemptive leadership intervention based on the mission of Christ Himself, “who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds” (Tit. 2:13).

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