Embedded Ethics: Discourse and Power in the New South Wales Police Service

Publisher:
Sage
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Organization Studies, 2009, 30 (1), pp. 73 - 99
Issue Date:
2009-01
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In this paper we report an ethnographic research study conducted in one of the world's largest police organizations, the New South Wales Police Service. Our research question was, `How do forms of power shape organizational members' ethical practices?' We look at existing theories that propose the deployment of two interrelated arguments: that ethics are embedded in organizational practices and discourse at a micro-level of everyday organizational life, which is contrasted with a focus on the macro-organizational, institutional forces that are seen to have an impact on ethics. Resisting this distinction between the `micro' and the `macro', we build on these two bodies of knowledge to explain ethical change as deeply embedded in power relations that traverse the scale of social action.
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