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Structure, Agency, and Working Law

  • Catherine R. Albiston

Abstract

Working Law: Courts, Corporations, and Symbolic Civil Rights (2016), by Lauren Edelman, presents an integrated theory of endogeneity that explains how organizational responses to civil rights laws undermine civil rights protections, preserve managerial prerogatives, and redefine judicial interpretations of compliance. Structural dynamics baked into organizations and driven by legitimacy and meaning produce organizational practices that appear to prohibit discrimination but do little to change discrimination on the ground. Working Law raises important questions for future research: Under what conditions might symbolic structures be effective? How does power affect the institutionalization of some symbols of compliance but not others? Can legal reforms limit the effects of endogeneity?

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References

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Structure, Agency, and Working Law

  • Catherine R. Albiston

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