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

Stewart R. Clegg, Raymond D Gordon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Article number0267-4424
Pages (from-to)417-436
Number of pages20
JournalFinancial Accountability and Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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