Institute for Christian Teaching

Education Department of Seventh-day Adventists










A Two Dimensional Approach For Adventist

Tertiary Institutions.









Hudson E. Kibuuka

Department of Education

Eastern Africa Division

Harare, Zimbabwe



Prepared for the

International Faith and Learning Seminar

held at

Helderberg College, Somerset, Cape Town, R.S.A.




160-93 Institute for Christian Teaching

12501 Old Columbia Pike

Silver Spring, MD 20904, USA


Viewing an organization as a social system, each behavioral act can be seen as stemming simultaneously from two dimensions. These dimensions are called the Nomothetic and Idiographic dimensions.

The Nomothetic dimension is one, which stresses the interests of the organization. It is sometimes referred to as the organizational dimension. The Idiographic dimension stresses the interests of the individuals or personal interests. It is sometimes called the personal dimension.

Observed behavior therefore, according to Getzels in his book Administration as a Social Process quoted by Owens (1970, p. 54) is a product of institutional role and personality of the role incumbent.

B=f(R x P)

Where  B is observed behavior

R is institutional role

P is personality of role incumbent

f is the mathematical constant of proportionality.


Pictorially, Owens illustrates this relationship as follows:


In an Institution, like in an organization, there are offices and positions occupied by individuals. These offices and positions represent the Nomothetic dimension of the organization. For each of these positions there are certain role expectations, which are usually specified in the job descriptions and tradition. The word tradition here may be interpreted as the world view of the institution or, according to Collins English dictionary the body of beliefs handed down from generation to generation.

On the other hand, the individuals who are incumbent in the offices and positions have their own personality structures and needs. These represent the idiographic dimension of the organization.

To some extent, even in highly formal organizations, the role incumbent mould and shape the offices in some ways in order to fulfill some of their own expectations of their role. Thus, there is a dynamic interrelationship between the institutional requirements and the idiosyncratic needs of the individual. The product of this interaction is organizational behavior.

In an Adventist institution, the desire is to bring about a positive influence or to transform the organizational behavior with a Biblical worldview and as seen above this will depend on the interplay between organizational role and personal or individual structures. The term "Biblical worldview" is used in preference to Christian worldview to refer to a worldview which is based on the Bible. That is when the perspective of life and the vision for life are based on the teachings of the Bible. Thus, the Bible affecting the way we think about ourselves, other people, the natural world and God or ultimate reality according to Sire's description of a world view (Sire, 1978, p. 15).

This essay, therefore, is an attempt to discuss how organizational behavior may portray a Biblical worldview, approaching the subject from the two dimensions. It is further hoped that it will stimulate further study by Adventist Educators in the field of organizational behavior in relation to the integration of faith and learning.

An Educational Institution as a Social System

An educational institution, be it small or big is a social system dealing with individuals and activities, personalities and roles, expectations and needs. These are what contribute to tradition or observed behavior of the institution.

A system, according to Piele, K.P. (1970, p. 125), is the subtotal of parts working independently (individually) and together (organizational) to achieve a required outcome. An educational institution fits this definition fairly well. It involves different parts, i.e. persons, departments, courses or classes, etc. all working more or less independently yet together for the common goals to be achieved.

An educational institution is not only a system but a social system that is it deals with people: administrators, teachers, students and parents. It is people who set up the institutional goals and policies and it is through the people that they are achieved. It is a human organization.

A social system, like an organization, involves two classes of phenomenon also that are conceptually independent and phenomenally interactive: (i) the institution with certain roles and expectations that will fulfill the goals of the system and (ii) the individuals with certain personalities and dispositions inhabiting the system, whose observed interactions comprise what we call observed behavior (Castetter, B. W. 1981, p.11). Castetter also says that a school specifically is a purposive social institution with organizational goals, which provide the framework for coordinated effort.

The organizational dimension, in the case of an educational institution, may be looked at as including the Board and administration both involved in establishing goals and policies, running programs, recruiting personnel, putting in place required facilities, organizing revenue and supervising operation and curriculum development and supervision. These organizational functions comprising the Nomothetic dimension contribute to observed organizational behavior. In an Adventist institution, is the Biblical word view vividly observed in organizational behavior? How can integration of faith and learning be achieved?

Goals and Policies

Gaebelein (1968, p. 85) says that, "Education is more than teachers and courses. The school has its setting, its environment in which it lives and moves and has its being; it also has its general policies and practices beyond the classroom. These are just as much part of God's truth as the subject matter of the various courses of study." In addition, goal setting and goal achieving are emerging as significant modern organizational activities (Castetter 1981, p. 7).

Organizational goals, sometimes referred to as purposes provide the framework for coordinated effort. They provide direction for the organization. Thus they affect observed behavior. This should be the starting point, as far as the organization is concerned, for the integration of faith and learning. The goal for an Adventist College need not be just the establishment of another college like all the others for merely competition. It should be to foster a Biblical worldview in its observed institutional behavior. Leaders and decision makers therefore need to desist from succumbing to mere pressure from people or the government to the detriment of the expected world view. Integration of faith and learning must begin from the goals and purposes.

As the general objective of Seventh-day Adventist Higher Education party says, "the church-related institutions in their custodial, creative and evaluative roles, should help develop within the students ethical, religious and social values compatible with church philosophy and teachings; values which will prepare the graduate for his lifework or vocation inside or outside denominational employ. These institutions also help develop in the students a higher concept of service to God and man" (Educational leaflet no. 47). This statement forms the basis for the general goals upon which a Biblical institutional world view can be built. The mission statement of an institution therefore, according to Covey, (1991, p. 295), should attempt to encompass the core values of the organization and create a context that gives meaning and direction and coherence to everything else.


The Seventh-day Adventist Church educational programs have advanced over the years to unprecedented levels. However, according to White (1943, p. 86) there is a danger that our colleges may be turned away from their original design. God's purpose is for His people to study the Sciences and at the same time to learn the requirements of His word. The term science here may be interpreted to refer a body of knowledge. This danger is looming, if not yet observed, in many areas where the church has institutions of higher learning.

Cognizant of this danger and in attempting to return to the original design there have been those who were radical and proposed that every subject should be taught using only the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. This is the other extreme. However, it is important to regularly review programs and approaches to test their relevance to the situation while at the same time not being turned away from the original design. If this is not done the situation described by Denison in Volume Four of "Christ in the Classroom' (Rasi 1991, p. 76), that while living in the twentieth century, it is possible to give the students nineteenth century behaviors models, may result.


The function of recruiting personnel is one of the functions of an organization or institution through which it fulfils its role. Individual personnel shall be discussed in a subsequent section of this essay. Only the function of recruitment is to be highlighted here. As the institutional machinery goes about recruiting personnel, it is important to integrate faith so that even in this more or less automatic function the observed behavior should portray Biblical worldview.

For the purpose of this essay, recruitment, which includes the steps below, shall include releasing, termination or dismissal of individuals from positions for whatever reasons. The general process according to Castetter's (1981, p. 133) model includes 5 steps.

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Step 3

Step 5

Development of Recruitment






Potential Personnel


Coordination of

Personnel Search





When carrying out this function, quite often those responsible forget that people observe and ridicule the institution rather than the individual on the committee.

Normally, the function of appointing or employing personnel is done by the governing board of the institution and may either be by direct recruitment, appointment, elections or calls. This function is usually carried out by a committee made up of individuals who represent the organization. At times one may be led to wonder why a prayer or a beautiful devotion is given at the beginning of such meetings.

Expanding on John 15:12, "Love one another as I have loved you", White (1943, p. 97) says that 'we should ever look upon the youth as the purchase of the blood of Christ. As such they have demands upon our love, our patience and our sympathy". Likewise, individuals employed in an institution have the same demands from the institution. This is the way a Biblical worldview can be seen in the organizational behavior and should be seen in each of the above steps of the recruitment process. Castetter says that school systems are composed of people and people will determine whether the system succeeds or stagnates, serves its clients effectively or squanders its limited resources aimlessly (Castetter, 1981, p. 30).

Likewise, people will, as already discussed, affect the observed behavior of the system. Thus as Castetter continues to say, finding the right people, helping them to develop, seeing that they are properly well compensated, appraised, informed and motivated are some of the major concerns of the personnel function.

This statement implies that helping the individuals develop is one of the important functions of an organization because productivity (and observed behavior) of a work group depends on how the individuals see their own goals in relation to the goals of the organization (Hersey and Blanchard, 1982, p. 35). This compatibility in goals can be brought about by helping individuals to develop through seminars, conventions, retreats, etc.

Some Christian institutions have developed a system that, as part of the recruitment exercise, teachers are required to submit in writing their anticipated contribution to the institution they want to join in addition to the oral interview. This helps the employing body to determine the teacher's world view which in addition to habits and principles should be considered of even greater importance than his literally qualifications.


Facilities represent more of an institution than the areas discussed so far, which relate to the role incumbents as well. It, however, appears difficult to talk of organizational behavior in relation to facilities in the literal understanding of the term. Nevertheless, organizational or institutional operations depend so much on and to a reasonable extent are affected by the facilities. These operations do affect institutional behavior and can help to build a Biblical worldview of the institution.

Human habitation is very important, in addition to the work of God in the natural world according to White (1913, p. 125). White here is stressing the hygiene of the students' bodies and equally important are the physical facilities in which the individual operates. The old saying that Cleanliness is next to Godliness must apply here so as to develop the aesthetic sense, which helps to build a Biblical worldview. White further says that, "No pains should be spared to select places for our schools where the moral atmosphere will be as healthful as possible" (White, 1923, p. 421).

Order, neatness and cleanliness are some of the virtues that build this worldview. Testimonies Volume Six quoted by the educational leaflet No. 47 (1952, p. 19) says that "the cleanliness and beauty of the campus and buildings (facilities) will attract the angels and point the students to the beauty and order of heaven'. What would portray a Biblical worldview more than the presence of angels on an institutional campus.

Organizing Revenue and Supervising Operations

The functions of organizing revenue and supervising operations are very much related as can be seen through the study of the evolvement of management theories. These have evolved in three recognizable, stages.

i)          The scientific management era (1910-1935) also referred to as the classical theory of administration which was structured around two ideas, motivation, -- why a person participates in an organization and organization -- techniques of dividing up specialized tasks and the various levels of authority. It viewed man as and "economic man" able to continue working because he needed money to meet his physiological needs. It emphasized division of labor.

In educational institutions, although factory-type pay schemes are not easy to implement, Owens (1970, p. 47) says that organizational ideas of this theory appear to be most in evidence in such terms as emphasis on authority, clear-cut hierarchy with centralized control, definite division of functions and responsibilities and orderly channels.

ii)         The human relations movement (1935-1950) came up in opposition to the scientific management theory, which considered man as a machine. Its concepts stem from the four discoveries by ELton Mayo.

-                     The output of a work, hence the output of the organization, is determined more by his social capacity than by his physical capacity.

-                     Money is only one motivation for working in an organization; there are other and perhaps more important rewards that the worker seeks.

-                     Highly specialized division of labor is not the most likely way of maximizing efficiency of an organization.

-                     Individual workers react to the organization, its hierarchy, its rules, and its reward system, not as individuals, but as members of groups.

(Owens 1970, pp. 47, 48).

Because this movement arose out of opposition, it tended to overemphasize the opposite of the classical management movement in addition to its emphasis on groupness and leading to democratic leadership.

iii)         Nevertheless, newer concepts of administration have emerged (1950 -). These comprise according to Owens (1970, p. 48), a synthesis of classical, human relations and behavioral theories realizing that placing much emphasis on any one approach all the time leads to poor management.

All these theorizes, movements or approaches to management have been interested in designing ways of organizing and spending revenue and supervision of operations for maximum benefits and efficiency. It is possible for a Seventh-day Adventist institution, engaged in organizing and spending revenue and carrying out educational operations, to be over-occupied by these functions and forget the primary goal of building a Biblical worldview through the Integration of Faith and Learning. Organizational or institutional endeavors to get revenue are not to be at the expense of organizational Biblical worldview behavior. Even institutional industries designed to raise funds must approach maximizing profits from a Biblical worldview. Which (1952, p. 225-229) proposes labor as one of the methods of character building if well done. Character building is a vital component in building a Biblical worldview.

Supervision of all operations should be to foster orderliness and efficiency, as our Lord is orderly and efficient. Chaotic situations are linked with devilish undertakings from the beginning, "Then there was war in heaven...." (Rev 12:17).

Curriculum Development and Supervision

Development and supervision of curriculum is another very important function of any educational institution particularly at tertiary levels where there is less control on the curriculum than at the lower levels. Curriculum is key to any educational institution because it determines one of the primary purposes of the existence of an institution. It should therefore be approached with a Biblical world point of view if observed behavior is to foster the same worldview. It must show that in life there is no artificial division between the sacred and the secular. (Homes, 1987, p. 7).

The South Pacific Division (Rasi, 1993, p. 142) framework suggests the following elements, which can be applied to make a school Adventist through the formal curriculum:

-           A philosophy

-           A rationale

-           A set of objectives

-           Biblical references for some values

-           Suggestions about ways to teach or emphasize values

-           A list of issues

-           Guidelines on assessment, and

-           Flow-charts and other summaries to integrate with topic planning.

The same elements can be used in any institution with a deliberate intent of fostering integration of faith and learning. Succumbing to all pressure of dictates from peers would derail the primary objective of an Adventist institution and make it appear just like any other. George Akers and Robert Moon, in their article "Integrating Learning, Faith and Practice in Christian education" state that the basis for selecting our subject matter and teaching methods should depend on having a clear understanding of what we wish to accomplish through our instruction (Rasi, 1993, p. 20-21). They then go ahead to propose methods of integrating learning, faith and practice in different subjects in the same article.

Furthermore, in addition to curriculum showing the teachers' attitudes to individuals and students, it also portrays the institutional outlook to the public, and hence affects the institution's worldview.

The Individual, in a Social System


*Our society is an organizational society. We are born in organizations, and most of us spend much of our lives working for organizations. We spend much of our leisure time paying, playing and praying in organizations. Most of us will die in an organization and when the time comes for burial, the largest organization of all -- the state -­must grant official permission.,

This quotation from a book Modern Organizations by Amitai Etzioni quoted by Owens (1970, p. 45) may not apply to all people but it does apply to those connected to Adventist educational institutional. It also brings out the fact that it is individuals who make up most organizations or at least that we live in organizations individually. The idiographic (individual) dimension of an organization is, therefore, a vital dimension in building a Biblical Institutional worldview.

In education institutions, the individual referred to may be in any of the following categories of personnel: the administrators, faculty (professors, lecturers or teachers), supporting staff or students. These are normally the ones directly connected to an institution as an organization. For the purpose of this essay, however, the individual referred to shall be either the individual administrator, or the professor, lecturer or teacher and these terms will be used interchangeably.

Owens (1970, p. 54) notes that the role incumbent, the person who happens to occupy the organizations role of principal (or teacher) at a given moment, is a person with all distinctive personality characteristics and needs of an individual". Furthermore, when the Macedonian call, O come over.... and help us" (Acts 16:9) comes; it does so to individuals more than to an organization. It must therefore be responded to individually. Nevertheless, the way individuals perceive this call and their personality characteristics are not changed by accepting that call. The importance of individuals, therefore, in building a Biblical worldview for the organization cannot be underestimated.

A number of articles and papers have been written about the role of a teacher in a school because he stands at a pivotal position. It is largely through human resources that the work of an educational institution is accomplished; therefore, the personnel function must take considerable significance.

Nevertheless, much of what is written deals more with how the individual teacher relates or should relate to the student, which is a very important dimension. However, how he relates to the organization perse is also vital if the Biblical worldview is to be observed in the institutional behavior. There is of course much interplay between these two dimensions and it is not easy to separate them especially as the organization, in this case the educational institution, covers or includes both the teacher himself and the student as shown in the diagram below.


In the diagram "A", represents the relationship between teacher and student and "B" represents the relationship between teacher and organization.

The picture could become more complex if other teachers and students were to be included. However, for purposes of this essay only an individual teacher and how he relates to organization as a whole is highlighted.

The individual teacher has certain needs, which must be met, by both him and the organization if a Biblical worldview is to be observed in the organizational behavior. In addition, his perception of worldview also affects his actions, which actions do contribute to the institutional observed behavior.

Commenting on a study carried out among employees in an American industry on the subject "What workers want from their jobs", Hersey and Blanchard (1982, p. 41-42), suggest that one might generalize that individuals act on the basis of their perceptions or interpretation of reality and not on the basis of reality itself. The findings from this study, carried out in 1948, indicate that supervisors ranked physiological and safety needs as the things which motivate workers while on the other hand, workers felt that they were motivated by affiliation and recognition motives. Replication of the study indicated that while supervisors maintained their feelings, those of workers changed over the years, seemingly, being affected by factors such as the economy.

Hersey and Blanchard further suggest that one of the reasons for studying behavioral sciences is to find ways of getting individuals perceptions closer and closer to reality. In other words, it would help So get ways of answering one of the basic questions of a world view, what is ultimate reality.

White (1913, p. 229) in talking about the needs of a Christian teacher, one who helps build a Biblical worldview stresses the need for proper and thorough preparation. She says that:

"the school room is no place for surface work. No teacher who is satisfied with superficial knowledge will attain a high degree of efficiency . . .. But it is not enough that the teacher possesses natural ability and intellectual culture. These are indispensable, but without a spiritual fitness for the work he is not prepared to engage in it."

Fundamental human needs seem to be arranged in a hierarchy starting from basic physiological needs such as food and air to self actualization (Hersey and Blanchard, 1982, p. 27).



However, this hierarchy is not rigid according to Pigors and Myers (1981, p. 109). Lower-level needs do not have to be completely satisfied before higher-level needs emerge, Pigors and Myers further suggest that human beings are more than animals which cannot exist without minimal satisfaction of physiological needs. To develop their fully human potential, social, psychological and spiritual needs must also be met.

It has further been suggested that Maslow's hierarchy does not necessarily follow the prescribed pattern (Hersey and Blanchard, 1982, p. 29). He (Maslow) felt that this was a pattern that operates most of the time with numerous exceptions. Citing Mahatma Gandhi who frequently sacrificed his physiological and safety needs for other needs.

Adams in the book "The Biblical View of Self-Esteem, Self-Love, Self-image" quoted by Charlene Reinecke in her paper "A Biblical and Psychological Comparative study of Self-Image" for the Faith and Learning Seminar held at Helderberg College, suggests that Jesus turns Maslow's hierarchy such that the pyramid stands on its apex. Jesus' admonition that "seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matt 6:33) is an amplification of self-actualization as the first need of human beings.

White, therefore, when writing about some of the Christian teachers' needs stresses the following, a personal knowledge of Christ, prayer, understanding of the students, harmonious development, a happy disposition and growth through practice.

A Personal Knowledge of Christ

Every Christian teacher should have an intelligent understanding of what Christ is to him individually (White 1913, p. 230). His desire should be to derive his strength from this knowledge, which will help him to understand all knowledge and to develop a Biblical worldview. Such a teacher's boasting shall be in God and not in the knowledge or expertise of Science of other subjects.

"Those who accept the responsibility that rests upon all teachers should be constantly advancing. They should not be content to dwell in the lowlands of Christian experience.... With the Word of God in their hand and the love of souls pointing them to constant diligence, they should advance step by step in efficiency." (White 1913, p. 230-231).

Daily Prayer

The importance of daily prayer - committing individual lives in the hands of the Master teacher, cannot be overemphasized. "Every teacher should receive daily instruction from Christ.... " (White  1913, p. 231). This can only be done through prayer. The teacher must realize the need of prayer and humble his heart before God or else he loses the very essence of education.

Understanding Students

Just as the teacher is an individual he should deal with students as individuals and understand their differences. He should know as Holmes (1987, p. 24) states that teaching has a double objective. He teaches the subject but he also, and most importantly, teaches students. While this statement may appear like stressing the teachers relationship with students, teaching being his primary responsibility, it helps in building a Biblical worldview in institutional behavior. He has a garden to tend, in which are plants differing widely in nature, form and development. (White 1913, p. 231). How well he cares for them will determine the garden's appearance, which in this case is the observed institutional behavior.

Harmonious Development

Education is the harmonious development of all the faculties of man (White 1952, p. 13). It is that which is Christ-like, constant with Biblical principles. The individual teacher in building a Biblical worldview should try not to pay biased attention to some branches of study and neglect others. Drilling students in one branch of study does the students a great wrong according to White (1913, p. 232). The keen active minds of the youth are quick to detect every defect of character and they will copy defects more readily than they will the values of the Holy Spirit. The teacher, therefore, needs to develop harmoniously. This is particularly so for a Christian teacher who may be called upon to perform different functions at the institution.

A Happy Disposition

No man or woman is fitted for the work of teaching who is fretful, impatient, arbitrary or dictatorial. These traits of character do great harm in the schoolroom. In his position, the teacher stands where ignorance or lack of self-control is sin (White 1913, p. 233). The Christian teacher should desist from indulging a morose or gloomy disposition. Such a disposition will paint a similar picture of God Himself and hence a negative world view. In order to depict a positive Biblical worldview the teacher needs to cultivate and maintain a happy disposition. 'Those who dwell upon God's great moves and are not unmindful of His lesser gifts will put on the girdle of gladness and make melody in their hearts to the Lord. They will enjoy their work" (White 1913, p. 234).

Growth Through Practice

All the above needs for integration of faith and learning by the teacher can be developed through putting them to practice. Reading books is vital and provides knowledge but that knowledge cannot build a Biblical worldview until it is put in practice in the life of the individual teacher. "As he (the individual teacher) uses his knowledge he will receive more" (White 1913, p. 234). If the knowledge is hidden in the earth like the talent, what results is murmuring and complaining against God. Therefore, the individual teacher must use knowledge so as to grow and develop. Furthermore, actions speak louder than words. "Because you are teachers, do not think that it is unnecessary to obtain training in the simplest duties of life. ... do not neglect the everyday duties around you" (White 1913, p. 235). Thus, starting with a personal knowledge of Christ, which is the basis for self-actualization through genuine faith, the rest of the needs, intertwined with those suggested by Maslow, represent the idiographic dimension of an organization.


So far this essay has discussed the separate roles of the two dimensions of a school as an organization or social system. Already, however, there has been much evidence of interplay between these two dimensions and, as Owens notes, it is this interplay that determines organizational behavior.

Castetter (1981, p. 9-11) refers to a school system as a human organization within which a social service is performed comprising of a series of interdependent parts. He further says that Educational Administration is a social process that takes place within the context of a social system involving two classes of phenomenon the institutions and the individuals. Each individual in the organization brings to his/her work certain needs that he/she seeks to satisfy. If the needs of the individual and the demands of the organization are not compatible, problems arise affecting both the individual and the organization.

Likewise, if there is to be a Biblical worldview in an education institution as an organization, there is need for the needs of the individuals within and the demands or role expectations of the organization to be compatible. What results is true integration.



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