Legitimacy Lost and Back to Normality: Scandals in the Public Sector – the Swedish Case
Zapata Johansson, P. (2007). Legitimacy Lost and Back to Normality: Scandals in the Public Sector – the Swedish Case EJBO - Electronic Journal of Business Ethics and Organization Studies, Vol. 12 (2). Retrieved from http://ejbo.jyu.fi
Scandals provide an opportunity to generate more knowledge about the process in which organizational legitimacy can be restored. This article is based on a study of all scandals in the Swedish public sector from 1995-1997 and four case studies in four organizations conducted 2003. In scandals in the Swedish public sector, players in leading positions are linked to some transgression, often of a financial nature. The less expected the transgression, the stronger the public reaction and the more the organisation’s legitimacy diminish. A scandal implies a failure for everyone in the organisation. The organisation is subjected to questions, scrutiny and slander. Because the tough scrutiny, it becomes difficult to decouple what is said, decided and done. The organisation is focused on acting conformably to external demands. By paying attention to external reactions, the organisation adapts and learns what may, ought and should be done so that it never again finds itself involved in a scandal. Simultaneously, the organisation prepares itself for future scandals. When the organisation feels that those outside the organisation consider it is living up to external expectations one can say that its legitimacy is restored. When the organizational legitimacy is restored, external pressure returns to normal. ...
PublisherBusiness and Organization Ethics Network (BON)