When Organizations Rule: Judicial Deference to Institutionalized Employment Structures
68 Pages Posted: 21 Jun 2006 Last revised: 26 Aug 2014
Date Written: June 21, 2006
This article offers a theoretical and empirical analysis of legal endogeneity - a subtle and powerful process through which institutionalized organizational practices and structures influence judicial conceptions of legality and compliance. We argue that organizational structures such as grievance procedures, anti-harassment policies, evaluation procedures, and formal hiring procedures become symbolic indicia of compliance with civil rights law. At first these structures may simply be present in the case narrative. But, as they become increasingly institutionalized, judges begin to use their presence or absence in evaluating whether or not an organizational discriminated. Ultimately, these structures becomes so closely associated with rationality and fairness that judges become less likely to scrutinize whether they in fact operate in a manner that promotes nondiscriminatory treatment. To illustrate and test the theory of legal endogeneity, we conduct a quantitative content analysis of 1024 federal civil rights decisions from 1965-1999.
Keywords: civil rights & discrimination; corporate governance
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