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NCJ Number: 98613 Find in a Library
Title: Effects of Scandal on Organizational Deviance - The Case of the FBI
Journal: Justice Quarterly  Volume:2  Issue:2  Dated:(June 1985)  Pages:237-258
Author(s): T G Poveda
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 22
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study compares two major theoretical perspectives of organizational deviance in determining (1) how public disclosures and organizational power are related to organizational scandal and (2) the effect of an organizational scandal on organizational deviance; the focus of the study is the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) during 1950-83.
Abstract: One of the major theoretical perspectives of organizational deviance considered is the pluralist/ interactionist theory, which views organizational deviance as an institutionalized practice that has the active or passive support of the organization's dominant coalition. The second theoretical perspective considered is the political/economic elite view of organizational deviance, according to which organizational deviance is systemic and institutional rather than located in discrete organizational actors. One of the key study variables is public disclosure ('scandal'), which involves the revelation of embarassing or discrediting information about an organization. This variable was operationalized through news entries in the New York Times Index, 1950-82, which pertain to FBI deviance, corruption, or questionable practices. A second variable is organizational power, measured by the size of the FBI budget relative to that of the Department of Justice. A third variable used is organizational deviance. Since the majority of the FBI's questionable practices centered in domestic intelligence operations, these operations were used as an indirect indicator of organizational deviance. The final variable is scandal, which focused on the FBI's 'big scandal' of the 1970's, operationalized as beginning with the first public labeling of the FBI as a deviant organization on August 22, 1973, with the revelation of the burglary of Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office. The research used a quasi-experimental approach and a simple interrupted time-series design. Changes in the key variables were examined before and after the 'big scandal' to determine whether the pluralist or elite perspectives best explained changes in these variables as well as the intervention effects of the scandal. In identifying the importance of organizational power in managing disclosures that lead to scandal, the study supports the elite view of organizational deviance; however, neither major theoretical perspective is supported in the findings regarding the impact of scandal on organizational deviance. The study found that some aspects of organizational structure and process are more subject to change through scandal than other aspects. Graphic data and 44 references are provided.
Index Term(s): Corruption of public officials; Deviance; Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); Organization studies; Organizational theories
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