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The Two Faces of Governance: Responses to Legal Uncertainty in U.S. Firms, 1955 to 1985

John R. Sutton and Frank Dobbin
American Sociological Review
Vol. 61, No. 5 (Oct., 1996), pp. 794-811
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2096454
Page Count: 18
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The Two Faces of Governance: Responses to Legal Uncertainty in U.S. Firms, 1955 to 1985
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Abstract

Recent neoinstitutional analyses have associated the rapid diffusion of due-process governance mechanisms in the American workplace with government pressure for equal employment opportunity and affirmative action. We carry the argument forward in three ways. First, we focus on grievance procedures and employment-at-will clauses to show that the legalization process produces both rights-enhancing and rights-negating rules. Second, we focus on the private for-profit economic sector to test more effectively the efficiency and labor-control theories that have fared poorly in previous neoinstitutional studies. Third, we explore the interactions among personnel professionals, lawyers, and the state in the adoption of legalistic governance mechanisms. Results sustain the neoinstitutional argument, but also offer new support for efficiency and labor-control hypotheses.

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