Organizational Change, Politics, and the Official Statistics of Punishment

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Most organizational researchers characterize politics as a force organizations experience from outside and administration as the practices managers adopt in response to the uncertain environment. To assess that approach, this paper examines a crisis that changed California criminal justice agencies' administrative practices and their communication of statistical information to outsiders. In 1976, managers and wardens supported conservative reform bills that effectively ended professional criminal rehabilitation and quantitative evaluation studies, and they shifted administration toward bureaucratic controls, using routine population counts. Changes in agency statistical activities clarify how members of government organizations act politically to maintain or change administrative practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-267
Number of pages23
JournalSociological Forum
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


  • Criminal sentencing
  • Government statistics
  • Organizational control structures
  • Organizational environment


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