To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
There is a substantial literature today on the intersection of organizations, institutions, and law. The bulk of this literature falls into the school of thought known as the “new institutionalism” (or “neoinstitutionalism”), which came into play in the sociology of organizations in the late 1970s and early 1980s (Meyer and Rowan 1977; DiMaggio and Powell 1983). This literature has paid surprisingly little attention to an earlier version of institutionalism, often referred to as the “old institutionalism,” which is mostly associated with the work of Philip Selznick. This chapter reconsiders the sociological significance of the old institutionalism, focusing in particular on Selznick's Law, Society, and Industrial Justice (1969). More than half a century after its original publication, this work remains important for how it conceptualizes law, for how it conceptualizes organizations, and for the theory Selznick offers regarding the moral evolution of organizations as they become “institutions,” or living entities infused with values. I explore the place of Law, Society, and Industrial Justice in the sociology of law and the sociology of organizations, consider its argument in light of subsequent developments in the new institutionalism, and finally argue that it is time for a rapprochement between the old and new institutionalisms in the study of organizations, institutions, and law.
Law, Society, and Industrial Justice, parts of which were coauthored by Philippe Nonet and Howard Vollmer, was first published in 1969 by the Russell Sage Foundation and was reissued in 1980 by Transaction Books and again in 2020 by Quid Pro Books. In his distinctive style, Selznick combines both sociological and jurisprudential insights, calling our attention to the importance of understanding the evolution of public legal norms and ideals in private organizational governance. As the first comprehensive examination of the relationship between law and organizations and, perhaps more importantly, of how law operates within organizations, this study addresses complex issues of governance in organizations using a rich blend of history, sociology, politics, management theory, and jurisprudence. Written about a decade before the new institutionalism emerged as a dominant approach to law and organizations, it provides an important complement, showing us how norms and ideals can develop within organizations as well as at the broader organizational field level that is the focus of much contemporary scholarship.
In stark contrast to the ideal of an impartial judge who reaches a decision by impassively applying the law to the facts of a case, decades of research on judicial decision-making show that judicial reasoning is in reality affected by judges’ political views and attitudes, by strategic considerations, and by historical and cultural factors. Attitudinal theorists emphasize the impact of judges’ ideological values on judicial decision-making and point out that, especially where law is ambiguous, partisan voting tends to influence judicial thinking (Epstein, Landes, and Posner 2013; Pritchett 1948; Segal and Cover 1989). Strategic choice scholars qualify the attitudinal model by arguing that judges take into account the preferences of their colleagues, elected officials, and the public, in part to minimize the likelihood that their decisions will be overturned (Epstein and Knight 1998; Wahlbeck, Spriggs, and Maltzman 1998; Epstein and Knight 2000).
This article provides a new account of employers' advantages over employees in federal employment discrimination cases. We analyze the effects of judicial deference, in which judges use institutionalized employment structures to infer nondiscrimination without scrutinizing those structures in any meaningful way. Using logistic regression to analyze a representative sample of judicial opinions in federal EEO cases during the first thirty‐five years after the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, we find that when judges uncritically use the presence of organizational structures to reason about whether discrimination occurred, employers are much more likely to prevail. This pattern is especially pronounced in opinions written by liberal judges. In light of these findings, we offer recommendations for judges, lawyers, and policy makers—including legal academics—who seek to improve the accuracy and efficacy of employment discrimination adjudications.
In his witty and usually slightly irreverent way, Lawrence Friedman has provided a set of ideas that serve as the canons for much current work in law and society. Of course, part of the reason for that is that Lawrence himself has written so much of the work in the field. In addition to classic works like The Legal System: A Social Science Perspective, Total Justice, and A History of American Law, and his reader with Stewart Macaulay and Elizabeth Mertz, Law in Action: A Socio-Legal Reader, he has written on topics as diverse as slum housing, contract law, mandatory retirement, crime and punishment, family law, the war on terror, and inheritance. He has even written a movie review of Legally Blonde. The rest of us hardly have time to read all of Lawrence's work, much less to write much of our own.
In this brief reflection, I outline a few of the central themes in Friedman's work that have now reached more or less canonical status in the field of law and society. Given his fame and influence, such an exercise may be quite unnecessary, but my goal is to remind readers how very foundational his work is in the field of law and society.
The first and most basic theme that has reached canonical status is that law and the legal system are fundamentally social entities, born of social forces.