The Collegial Phenomenon: The Social Mechanisms of Cooperation Among Peers in a Corporate Law…

Hardcover | September 15, 2001

byEmmanuel Lazega

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Organizations performing non-routine, innovative, often knowledge- intensive tasks - for example professional partnerships - need a rather flat, collegial, and non - bureaucratic structure. This book examines cooperation among partners in a US corporate law firm and provides a grounded theoryof collective action among rival peers, or collegiality. It is first network study of such a frim. Members (partners and associates) are portrayed as independent entrepreneurs who build social niches in their organization and cultivate status competition among themselves. This behaviour allows themto fulfil their commitment to an extremely constraining partnership agreement and generates informal social mechanisms (bounded solidarity, lateral control, oligarchic regualtion) that help a flat organization govern itself: maintain individual performance, even for tenured partners; capitalizeknowledge and control quality; monitor and sanction opportunistic free-riding; solve the 'too many chefs' problem; balance the powers of rainmakers and schedulers; and integrate the firm in spite of many centrifugal forces. These mechanisms and the solutions they provide are examined using a broadly-conceived structural approach combining theory-driven network analysis, ethnography of task forces performing knowledge-intensive work, and analysis of management and internal politics in the firm. Emmanuel Lazega presentsa theory of the collegial organization which generalizes its results to all kinds of partnerships, larger multinational professional services firms, and collegial pockets in flattening bureaucracies alike.

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Organizations performing non-routine, innovative, often knowledge- intensive tasks - for example professional partnerships - need a rather flat, collegial, and non - bureaucratic structure. This book examines cooperation among partners in a US corporate law firm and provides a grounded theoryof collective action among rival peers, or c...

Emmanuel Lazega is Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Lille I, France. Previous positions have included Assistant Professor at the University of Versailles (1993-1999); Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University (1988-1991); and Researcher at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, Wolfson College, Oxford University...

other books by Emmanuel Lazega

Format:HardcoverDimensions:358 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.94 inPublished:September 15, 2001Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199242720

ISBN - 13:9780199242726

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. A Structural Theory of Collective Action Among Peers2. Spencer, Grace, and Robbins3. Niches and Status in the Firm: A Specific Exchange System4. Economic Performance and Quality Control5. Too Many Chefs?6. Balance of Power and Organizational Integration: A Montesquieu Structure7. Pressuring Partners Back to Good Order: A Lateral Control Regime8. Multi-Status Oligarchs and the Negotiation of Precarious ValuesConclusion