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Accounting for ethics in action: Problems with localised constructions of legitmacy

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Stewart Clegg


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Socially constituted systems of order emanate from tacit interaction. While they are reflected in an organization's culture, they do not necessarily align with the organization's authorised rules and codes of conduct. Such misalignment renders legitimacy in organizations problematic. The paper explores the relation between power and legitimacy by showing how such systems of order recursively establish, and are established by, forms of legitimacy that may not be formalised. Empirically, such forms of legitimacy thwarted a police organization's attempt to reform. Theoretically, an understanding of organizational change is connected to the relationship between power and legitimacy. The paper provides insights into how power influences the social construction of legitimacy within the context of public organizations.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Clegg SR, Gordon RD

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Financial Accountability & Management

Year: 2012

Volume: 28

Issue: 4

Pages: 417-436

Print publication date: 01/11/2012

Online publication date: 17/10/2012

ISSN (print): 0267-4424

ISSN (electronic): 1468-0408

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0408.2012.00554.x


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