The Mormon Stories Podcast

Beal, B. D., & Tarter, J. 2013. The Mormon Stories podcast: Faith, disaffiliation and strategic vision. Business Case Journal, 20(2): 15-33. [PDF, journal]

From the teaching note:

In September 2005, after experiencing a personal crisis of faith, John Dehlin, a lifelong Mormon, started the Mormon Stories podcast. The podcast quickly gained a following and in early 2011 John set up the Open Stories Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization, and transferred the Mormon Stories podcast to the foundation. Initially, the purpose of the podcast was to explore, through personal stories, different difficult and/or controversial aspects of Mormonism. These efforts had led to recent efforts to establish local Mormon Stories communities and to sponsor local conferences and other local activities.

John now found himself at a crossroads. John knew he needed to think carefully his vision for the Open Stories Foundation, its resources and capabilities, and how those resources and capabilities should be managed over time. Careful alignment of the foundation’s day-to-day activities with its vision and mission would allow it to make progress toward important organizational objectives, and that progress would lead to an increase in donations. An increase in donations would allow the organization to enhance its resources and capabilities, contributing to more progress, and this would create a virtuous cycles of organizational growth.

Case questions (from the teaching note):

1. What is the Mormon Stories Podcast? What is John Dehlin’s story?

2. What does John believe is the purpose of the Mormon Stories podcast? What is John’s vision for the Open Stories Foundation? What is its mission?

3. What is the basic revenue model for the Mormon Stories Podcast? What inputs are required and how is revenue generated?

4. Approach the Open Stories Foundation from a resource-based view (or RBV) perspective. What resources does the Open Stories Foundation control? When it comes to competing for listeners (and donations), what is the Mormon Stories podcast’s competitive advantage?

5. Assess the relationship between organizational mission, vision and strategy, and explain how these elements should be aligned in the case of the Mormon Stories podcast and the Open Stories Foundation.

Instructors: If you’re using the case, please contact me for a copy of the teaching note.

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