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Book part
Publication date: 22 October 2019

Fanny Vincent

Adopting an intra-organizational viewpoint is essential to grasp legal intermediation. To deepen our understanding of such phenomena, this chapter proposes a qualitative…

Abstract

Adopting an intra-organizational viewpoint is essential to grasp legal intermediation. To deepen our understanding of such phenomena, this chapter proposes a qualitative and “multi-level” approach drawing on insights from the neo-institutional literature, policy ethnography analysis and the research on legal intermediaries. Such a perspective is particularly suited to capture the complexity and the depth of institutional change. Using the 12-hour work legal mechanism of derogation in the context of French public hospitals as an example, this chapter highlights how both macro-level actors (actors of a “reform network”), and micro-level ones (hospital directors) contribute to the shaping and framing of legality in French public hospitals. Results show that variation in how those actors use law depends on the local configuration. Second, results demonstrate that the legal games they play are not merely based on symbolic and superficial compliance with the law, but also on outright manipulations and conscious rule-breaking.

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Book part
Publication date: 22 October 2019

Lisa Buchter

Previous theories discuss how corporate managers can stir anti-discrimination laws away from their initial social goal by managerializing the law. Yet, other actors …

Abstract

Previous theories discuss how corporate managers can stir anti-discrimination laws away from their initial social goal by managerializing the law. Yet, other actors – notably insider activists – can contribute to move corporate regulations beyond merely symbolic compliance. I demonstrate this influence of activists with three cases studies: (1) LGBT activists for same-sex parental leave; (2) disability rights activists for implementing a quota; and (3) Muslim activists to secure accommodations in French workplaces. Through these cases, I show how activists can move corporate laws beyond compliance, pressure firms to go from merely symbolic to substantive compliance, and analyze mechanisms that explain their unequal success. Bringing together insights from the legal endogeneity theory and social movements theory, I analyze these activist legal intermediaries as actors faced with unequal structure of opportunities, and examine what factors hinder or favor an activist-driven legal endogeneity. I demonstrate the impact of more prescriptive regulations, the institutional power of union representatives (and their alignment with activists’ claims), reputational stakes for companies, and the resources of activists themselves (legal expertise, ability to reframe laws, and informal power within their organizations). Last, I show how activists leverage organizational and legal tools (collective agreement, diversity policies) to induce recoupling between formal commitments and informal practices.

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Book part
Publication date: 22 October 2019

Alina Surubaru

Based on an in-depth case study in the French nuclear industry, this chapter describes what happens when law’s ambiguity meets organizational complexity. While regulation…

Abstract

Based on an in-depth case study in the French nuclear industry, this chapter describes what happens when law’s ambiguity meets organizational complexity. While regulation studies suggest that organizations assign managerial values (such as efficiency or flexibility) to their compliance structures, this research focuses on the mixed role of purchasing managers in these processes. Constituting the missing link when explaining the legal regulation of economic activities, these intermediaries defend a financial conception of the firm against a more technical performance oriented solution. This financial conception did not emerge from nowhere, but resulted from the institutionalization of a particular meaning of business regulation within the nuclear industry. However, if values guide organizational behavior, the behavior of the actors can under no circumstances be reduced to these values. Conflicts, misunderstandings, and mistakes are a constitutive part of these process, too.

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Book part
Publication date: 10 June 2019

Shauhin Talesh and Jérôme Pélisse

This article explores how legal intermediaries facilitate or inhibit social change. We suggest the increasing complexity and ambiguity of legal rules coupled with the…

Abstract

This article explores how legal intermediaries facilitate or inhibit social change. We suggest the increasing complexity and ambiguity of legal rules coupled with the shift from government to governance provide legal intermediaries greater opportunities to influence law and social change. Drawing from new institutional sociology, we suggest rule-intermediaries shape legal and social change, with varying degrees of success, in two ways: (1) law is filtered through non-legal logics emanating from various organizational fields and (2) law is professionalized by non-legal professionals. We draw from case studies in the United States and France to show how intermediaries facilitate or inhibit social change.

Details

Studies in Law, Politics, and Society
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-727-1

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Abstract

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Legal Intermediation
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-860-9

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Book part
Publication date: 22 October 2019

Jérôme Pélisse

Legal intermediation is an emerging theoretical concept developed to grasp the importance of the process and actors who contribute to legal endogenization, in particular…

Abstract

Legal intermediation is an emerging theoretical concept developed to grasp the importance of the process and actors who contribute to legal endogenization, in particular in the field of economic activities and work governed by various public regulations. This chapter proposes to extend the analytical category of legal intermediary to all actors who, even if they are not legal professionals, deal on a daily basis with legal categories and provisions. In order to deepen our understanding of these actors and their contribution to how organizations frame legality, this chapter investigates four examples of legal intermediaries who are not legal professionals. Based on field surveys conducted over the past 15 years in France on employment policy, industrial relations, occupational health and safety regulation, and forensic economics, I make three contributions. First, the cases show the diversity of legal intermediaries and their growing and increasingly reflexive roles in our complex economies. Second, while they are not legal professionals per se, to different degrees, these legal intermediaries assume roles similar to those of legal professionals such as legislators, judges, lawyers, inspectors, cops, and even clerks. Finally, depending on their level of legitimacy and power, I show how legal intermediaries take part in the process of legal endogenization and how they more broadly frame ordinary legality.

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Article
Publication date: 29 July 2020

Lucia Biondi, John Dumay and David Monciardini

Motivated by claims that the International Integrated Reporting Framework (IRF) can be used to comply with Directive 2014/95/EU (the EU Directive) on non-financial and…

Abstract

Purpose

Motivated by claims that the International Integrated Reporting Framework (IRF) can be used to comply with Directive 2014/95/EU (the EU Directive) on non-financial and diversity disclosure, the purpose of this study is to examine whether companies can comply with corporate reporting laws using de facto standards or frameworks.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors adopted an interpretivist approach to research along with current regulatory studies that aim to investigate business compliance with the law using private sector standards. To support the authors’ arguments, publicly available secondary data sources were used, including newsletters, press releases and websites, reports from key players within the accounting profession, public documents issued by the European Commission and data from corporatergister.com.

Findings

To become a de facto standard or framework, a private standard-setter requires the support of corporate regulators to mandate it in a specific national jurisdiction. The de facto standard-setter requires a powerful coalition of actors who can influence the policymakers to allow its adoption and diffusion at a national level to become mandated. Without regulatory support, it is difficult for a private and voluntary reporting standard or framework to be adopted and diffused. Moreover, the authors report that the <IRF> preferences stock market capitalism over sustainability because it privileges organisational sustainability over social and environmental sustainability, emphasises value creation over holding organisations accountable for their impact on society and the environment and privileges the entitlements of providers of financial capital over other stakeholders.

Research limitations/implications

The authors question the suitability of the goals of both the <IRF> and the EU Directive during and after the COVID-19 crisis. The planned changes to both need rethinking as we head into uncharted waters. Moreover, the authors believe that the people cannot afford any more reporting façades.

Originality/value

The authors offer a critical analysis of the link between the <IRF> and the EU Directive and how the <IRF> can be used to comply with the EU Directive. By questioning the relevance of the compliance question, the authors advance a critique about the relevance of these and other legal and de facto frameworks, particularly considering the more pressing needs that must be met to address the economic, social and environmental implications of the COVID-19 crisis.

Details

Meditari Accountancy Research, vol. 28 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-372X

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Book part
Publication date: 22 October 2019

Sebastian Billows

The legal devices crafted within large organizations are a key component of legal endogeneity theory (LET). While symbolically complying with legislation, legal devices…

Abstract

The legal devices crafted within large organizations are a key component of legal endogeneity theory (LET). While symbolically complying with legislation, legal devices allow organizations to infuse managerial logics into the legal field, which eventually diverts law from its initial political goals. Although the LET has considered legal devices such as anti-discrimination guidelines and grievance procedures, this chapter argues that contracts also constitute a locus of symbolic compliance and contribute to the eventual endogenization of regulation. Supplementing LET with a focus on legal intermediation, this chapter explores how contracts are crafted and used by large organizations to respond to regulatory pressure. While other legal instruments are unambiguously managerialized from the outset, contracts are highly versatile legal objects that perform the seemingly opposite functions of symbolically complying with regulation and serving substantive commercial purposes. This discussion of the role of contracts as compliance mechanisms is based on an in-depth empirical study of the French retail industry and its response to a set of regulations that aimed at making their business practices fairer.

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Book part
Publication date: 22 October 2019

Camille Herlin-Giret and Alexis Spire

Since the 1990s, the French government has offered tax exemptions for people who buy property and rent it out for at least nine years. This legal framework, centered on…

Abstract

Since the 1990s, the French government has offered tax exemptions for people who buy property and rent it out for at least nine years. This legal framework, centered on incentives, can be considered a new kind of (de)regulation of housing policy, triggering a multiplication of private intermediaries devoted to finding clients for tax exemptions. Based on interviews with 28 investors who feel they have been abused (many of them have started legal proceedings against professionals from whom they bought a property), this study provides a new entry for analyzing legal intermediation, showing that it does not affect all laypeople in the same way, especially when looking at the latter’s social and economic resources. We analyze how and with what devices professionals, whose commercial practices are not fully regulated by law, rely on the law for the success of their transactions, especially with taxpayers who have money to become investors but who are not rich enough to pay for the services of a tax professional. We argue that the ability to resist the appeal of putting money into investments that turned out risky depends on investors’ social and economic resources. Finally, we analyze how the process of legal intermediation described in this chapter impacts investors’ legal consciousness and creates distrust toward the law.

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Book part
Publication date: 5 August 2019

Lauren S. Foley

The chapter intervenes in the debate among scholars of legal impact about the extent to which law can change society. Reformers, aims are frustrated when targets of law

Abstract

The chapter intervenes in the debate among scholars of legal impact about the extent to which law can change society. Reformers, aims are frustrated when targets of law respond with resistance to court decisions, especially where mechanisms to enforce case law are weak (Hall, 2010; Klarman, 2006; Rosenberg, 1991). Even when law’s targets abide by a law, however, other important studies have demonstrated that organizations can leverage ambiguous language to craft policies in compliance that further their aims (Barnes & Burke, 2006; Edelman, 2016; Lipson, 2001). This chapter examines a case in which a state constitutional provision banning affirmative action was written in relatively unambiguous language and one of its targets announced its intention to comply. Through extensive interviews with University officials, this chapter examines the University of Michigan’s use of financial, technological, and political resources to follow the language of the law while still blunting its impact. These findings suggest that to understand law’s impact on society, we need to reconceive compliance and not only take the clarity of the law and its enforcement mechanisms into account but also attend to the goals, resources, and practices of the groups it targets.

Details

Studies in Law, Politics, and Society
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-058-0

Keywords

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