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In her academic book, Dr. Myers begins her exploration of management perspectives of the calling construct using Max Weber’s seminal work, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, as a starting point. She then draws upon practitioner and theological conversations to identify gaps in management theory. Through exhaustive research, she fills those gaps with insights about calling from other disciplines. Each conversation has a different focus that elucidates important dimensions of calling, and together they provide a truly comprehensive view of this enduring idea.

Part one examines conversations about calling among contemporary management scholars.

Part two explores perspectives about calling from different disciplines and eras, from the 1500s to the present.

Part three unifies all conversations into a comprehensive theory that can be applied across ideological, cultural and philosophical boundaries.


Throughout, Myers uses a strong theoretical grounding, fortified by case studies and practical examples, to explain the application of her theory and its implications for individuals, practitioners, organizations and society.  Anyone interested in work ethics or management and spirituality will benefit from reading this book.


What does it mean to have a calling?  Why does this historic idea matter in modern organizations?


These are some of the questions that Dr. Myers answers in her book. Although the word 'calling' is casually used as shorthand for purpose or 'my ideal job,' the concept is laden with deeper meanings that have provoked varied interest among the secular and spiritual circles of both scholars and practitioners. Structured around the idea of these four conversations, Conversations about Calling aims to promote a holistic examination of calling that will advance research and practice in management, and across many disciplines.  



Table of Contents


Management scholars resurrected the idea of calling in the 1980s and 1990s, but the original idea is at least 2000 years old. Hence many different disciplines have been engaged in the conversation about calling for centuries. To explore these diverse perspectives, the book is divided into three parts.

Management's interest in calling is relatively recent.  This chapter provides historic and cultural context for shifting conversations about calling and gives an overview of the book..

1. Conversations About Calling 

Part 1 Management Conversations About Calling: 1980-2012 

This section reviews and critiques three different views of calling from "ivory tower" perspectives of management scholars. It concludes by highlighting the need to enrich management scholarship with insights from other disciplines.  Part 1 is a literature review that is written in very academic language, yet it's still accessible to a variety of readers at a high level.

A select group of scholars contend that, at the very least, calling is transcendent and spiritual but not religious. Further, they think that calling is about more than individual desire -- it's also entails adhering to social standards.

3. Transcendent Calling 

Many scholars contend that calling is a non-religious idea that focuses on personal destiny, passion, and enjoyment! That individualistic view also pervades society. The implications of these views are explored through the lens of theory and practical evidence to the contrary.

2. Secular-Individualistic Calling 

The sacred calling is seldom discussed much in management scholarship. However, the sacred perspective offers insights into why calling was thought to energize performance and fuel economic growth.

4. Sacred Calling 

Lack of a theory of calling is due to insularity among scholars and how they have constructed knowledge. Instead of avoiding theology for ideological reasons, this chapter argues for enriching scholarship by exploring insights from religion and other disciplines.

5. Calling in the Iron Cage 

Part 2 Other Conversations About Calling 

explores practitioner perspectives about calling, which convey a more expansive and nuanced understanding of the concept. Using real life examples, as well as historic theological and management insights, these chapters illustrate how a calling operates in daily life, as well as the causes and consequences of its diluted meaning in Western culture and organizations. Part 2 will be of interest to readers who are deeply interested in the topic of calling, either to motivate yourself or others, as well scholars and practitioners (e.g., counselors, consultants, and clergy). Familiar stories and people make these chapters more accessible to the average reader.

Discover how a group of people navigate the vicissitudes of denied, delayed, and fulfillied destinies by developing three core dimensions of a calling.

7. Case Example: Unthinkable 

Modern practitioners came to very different conclusions about the essence of calling. Here, we learn that calling is multi-dimensional, and not singularly focused on passion and destiny. 

6.  Practitioner Perspectives The Essence of Calling

Entrepreneurship, business and leadership can also be part of one’s calling, but they are rarely discussed that way.  By examining these callings, practitioners reveal how a calling unfolds across space and time.

8.  Practitioner Perspectives Callings in Business

Wisdom about calling is scattered across the centuries. This brisk survey of the historic meaning of calling provides surprising insights about practical reasons to reclaim and reinforce the original idea.

9. Ideologies & Industrialism: 16th-21st Century Callings 

Part 3 Connecting Conversations in Theory and Practice 

Here, we connect all of the conversations in a theory of calling and use a familiar case study example to illustrate how the theory can be applied in practice. I conclude by suggesting ways to cultivate the callings of youth and adults, with hopes of restoring the calling’s former vigor in modern life. 

What factors should be considered when measuring a calling? This chapter presents a theory that can be tested empirically. It also offers suggestions for future research.

10. A Cross-Cultural Theory of Calling 

How do you apply the theory and what does a calling look like in real life? “Not Your Average Joe” is the case study of how one person lived his calling, as well as the obstacles, insights and growth that occurred along the way.

11.  Case Study: Not Your Average Working Joe

Young adulthood is the ideal time to cultivate calling. However, recent studies suggest that it may even be cultivated in mature adults as well. This chapter suggests methods and institutional partnerships that can be used to effectively educate people about how to live their callings.

12. Cultivating Callings in Emerging & Established Adults 

Ch 11 Excerpt
Ch 1 Excert
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