Equal Opportunity Law and the Construction of Internal Labor Markets

American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 99, No. 2. (September 1993), pp. 396-427

33 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2014

See all articles by Frank Dobbin

Frank Dobbin

Harvard University - Department of Sociology

John R. Sutton

University of California-Santa Barbara

John W. Meyer

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies

W. Richard Scott

Stanford University

Date Written: 1993

Abstract

Internal labor markets have been explained with efficiency and control arguments; however, retrospective event-history data from 279 organizations suggest that federal Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) law was the force behind the spread of formal promotion mechanisms after 1964. The findings highlight the way in which American public policy, with its broad outcome-oriented guidelines for organizations, stimulates managers to experiment with compliance mechanisms with an eye to judicial sanction. In response to EEO legislation and case law, personnel managers devised and diffused employment practices that treat all classes of workers as ambitious and achievement oriented in the process of formalizing and rationalizing promotion decisions.

Suggested Citation

Dobbin, Frank and Sutton, John R. and Meyer, John W. and Scott, W. Richard, Equal Opportunity Law and the Construction of Internal Labor Markets (1993). American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 99, No. 2. (September 1993), pp. 396-427. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2417461

Frank Dobbin (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Sociology ( email )

33 Kirkland Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

John R. Sutton

University of California-Santa Barbara ( email )

Santa Barbara, CA 93106
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.soc.ucsb.edu/faculty/sutton/

John W. Meyer

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

W. Richard Scott

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

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