The Power Structure

Donald Palmer

in Normal Organizational Wrongdoing

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199573592
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738715 | DOI:
The Power Structure

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This chapter presents the power structure explanation of organizational wrongdoing. This explanation is the third of five alternative accounts of wrongdoing considered in the book. It is rooted in a theoretical perspective that views organizations as arenas of conflict, and views organizational participants as combatants. The chapter offers a definition of power and describes the two main types of power: formal authority and informal power (also known as resource dependence-based power). It then delineates how both types of power can cause those who possess power and those who are subject to it to engage in wrongdoing. It also explores how formal authority, informal power, and organizational wrongdoing can co-evolve over time. The chapter uses an extensive case analysis of illegal special purpose entities at Enron Corporation to illustrate its central ideas. It concludes with an overall assessment of the power structure explanation.

Keywords: organizational wrongdoing; formal authority; informal power; resource dependence based power; Enron

Chapter.  15434 words. 

Subjects: Organizational Theory and Behaviour

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