Karl Weick on Organizational Wrongdoing

organizational_wrongdoingDonald Palmer: Normal Organizational Wrongdoing: A Critical Analysis of Theories of Misconduct in and by Organizations. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. 313 pp. $85.00, hardback.

Read the review by Karl E. Weick of the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, published in Administrative Science Quarterly:

Donald Palmer has developed a provocative argument about the inevitability of organizational wrongdoing. Here are two examples: ‘‘I came to the conclusion that even the most ethical, socially resp????????????????????????????onsible, and law-abiding people are at significant risk of becoming entangled in wrongdoing when placed in an organizational context’’ (p. 23), and ‘‘The position of the line separating right from wrong is a political product, a reflection of the balance of power among competing interests rather than a representation of moral imperative. . . . [That line] is eminently disputable and perhaps inherently suspect’’ (p. 264). What we have here is a critical, inclusive, sociological analysis that takes the perspective of embedded wrongdoers.

The normalcy of wrongdoing makes more sense theoretically as we move away from the dominant organizational perspectives of rational choice theory and organizational culture, both of which treat wrongdoing as abnormal, and move toward an alternative perspective that gives more prominence to ethical decision theory, administrative systems, situational social influence, the power structure, accidental wrongdoing, and the social control of organizational wrongdoing.

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This entry was posted in Book Review, Organizational Studies and tagged , , , , , , by Cynthia Nalevanko, Senior Editor, SAGE Publishing. Bookmark the permalink.

About Cynthia Nalevanko, Senior Editor, SAGE Publishing

Founded in 1965, SAGE is the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. Known for our commitment to quality and innovation, SAGE has helped inform and educate a global community of scholars, practitioners, researchers, and students across a broad range of subject areas. With over 1500 employees globally from principal offices in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, Washington DC, and Melburne, our publishing program includes more than 1000 journals and over 900 books, reference works and databases a year in business, humanities, social sciences, science, technology and medicine. Believing passionately that engaged scholarship lies at the heart of any healthy society and that education is intrinsically valuable, SAGE aims to be the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. This means playing a creative role in society by disseminating teaching and research on a global scale, the cornerstones of which are good, long-term relationships, a focus on our markets, and an ability to combine quality and innovation. Leading authors, editors and societies should feel that SAGE is their natural home: we believe in meeting the range of their needs, and in publishing the best of their work. We are a growing company, and our financial success comes from thinking creatively about our markets and actively responding to the needs of our customers.

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