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date: 11 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The study of new religions in the making (NRMs) is particularly valuable to the study of religion as it offers a window into the process by which religious organizations develop. This chapter draws on insights in the rich set of case studies of NRMs and on the organizational startup literature to fashion a prolegomenon to a theory of the first generation development of NRMs. The basic premise is that all new organizations encounter similar developmental challenges. The objective is to identify factors that influence alternative levels of development and developmental trajectories during the first generation. The process is described in terms of three non-linear, sequential developmental moments: initial discovery, public sphere entry, and expansion/consolidation.

Keywords: new religious movement, startup organization, initial discovery, public sphere entry, expansion/consolidation

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