The sociological imagination and legal ethics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

For ten years, General Motors (GM) denied that an ignition switch that could easily be turned to ‘Off’ constituted a safety defect. Accidents, deaths and injuries resulted. Despite many, many suits against GM, the problem remained uncorrected. The explanations that have been proffered are interrogated in this article and others are suggested. It concludes that a bureaucratic legal department is partly to blame, and criticises how the legal department evaluated cases by their settlement value. It criticises GM’s culture of blaming drivers for accidents. It concludes that the main problem at GM was not bureaucracy, but poor organisation of team management. GM was not organised for accountability without hierarchy. The article suggests that lawyers can play a key role in improving corporate decision making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-111
Number of pages15
JournalLegal Ethics
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

Fingerprint

accident
moral philosophy
bureaucracy
lawyer
driver
death
decision making
responsibility
management
Values
imagination
General Motors
Accidents

Keywords

  • Automobiles
  • Bureaucracy
  • Computerisation
  • Corporations
  • Legal departments
  • Management
  • Product liability
  • Regulation and governance
  • Team management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law
  • Philosophy

Cite this

The sociological imagination and legal ethics. / Rosen, Robert.

In: Legal Ethics, Vol. 19, No. 1, 01.01.2016, p. 97-111.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{a7eab471c5524ed7a30ec34dee947132,
title = "The sociological imagination and legal ethics",
abstract = "For ten years, General Motors (GM) denied that an ignition switch that could easily be turned to ‘Off’ constituted a safety defect. Accidents, deaths and injuries resulted. Despite many, many suits against GM, the problem remained uncorrected. The explanations that have been proffered are interrogated in this article and others are suggested. It concludes that a bureaucratic legal department is partly to blame, and criticises how the legal department evaluated cases by their settlement value. It criticises GM’s culture of blaming drivers for accidents. It concludes that the main problem at GM was not bureaucracy, but poor organisation of team management. GM was not organised for accountability without hierarchy. The article suggests that lawyers can play a key role in improving corporate decision making.",
keywords = "Automobiles, Bureaucracy, Computerisation, Corporations, Legal departments, Management, Product liability, Regulation and governance, Team management",
author = "Robert Rosen",
year = "2016",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1080/1460728x.2016.1189116",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "19",
pages = "97--111",
journal = "Legal Ethics",
issn = "1460-728X",
publisher = "Routledge",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - The sociological imagination and legal ethics

AU - Rosen, Robert

PY - 2016/1/1

Y1 - 2016/1/1

N2 - For ten years, General Motors (GM) denied that an ignition switch that could easily be turned to ‘Off’ constituted a safety defect. Accidents, deaths and injuries resulted. Despite many, many suits against GM, the problem remained uncorrected. The explanations that have been proffered are interrogated in this article and others are suggested. It concludes that a bureaucratic legal department is partly to blame, and criticises how the legal department evaluated cases by their settlement value. It criticises GM’s culture of blaming drivers for accidents. It concludes that the main problem at GM was not bureaucracy, but poor organisation of team management. GM was not organised for accountability without hierarchy. The article suggests that lawyers can play a key role in improving corporate decision making.

AB - For ten years, General Motors (GM) denied that an ignition switch that could easily be turned to ‘Off’ constituted a safety defect. Accidents, deaths and injuries resulted. Despite many, many suits against GM, the problem remained uncorrected. The explanations that have been proffered are interrogated in this article and others are suggested. It concludes that a bureaucratic legal department is partly to blame, and criticises how the legal department evaluated cases by their settlement value. It criticises GM’s culture of blaming drivers for accidents. It concludes that the main problem at GM was not bureaucracy, but poor organisation of team management. GM was not organised for accountability without hierarchy. The article suggests that lawyers can play a key role in improving corporate decision making.

KW - Automobiles

KW - Bureaucracy

KW - Computerisation

KW - Corporations

KW - Legal departments

KW - Management

KW - Product liability

KW - Regulation and governance

KW - Team management

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85042295848&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85042295848&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1080/1460728x.2016.1189116

DO - 10.1080/1460728x.2016.1189116

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85042295848

VL - 19

SP - 97

EP - 111

JO - Legal Ethics

JF - Legal Ethics

SN - 1460-728X

IS - 1

ER -