The endogeneity of legal regulation: Grievance procedures as rational myth

Lauren B. Edelman, Christopher Uggen, Howard S. Erlanger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

488 Scopus citations


Most accounts of organizations and law treat law as largely exogenous and emphasize organizations' responses to law. This study proposes a model of endogeneity among organizations, the professions, and legal institutions. It suggests that organizations and the professions strive to construct rational responses to law, enabled by "rational myths" or stories about appropriate solutions that are themselves modeled after the public legal order. Courts, in turn, recognize and legitimate organizational structures that mimic the legal form, thus conferring legal and market benefits upon organizational structures that began as gestures of compliance. Thus, market rationality can follow from rationalized myths: the professions promote a particular compliance strategy, organizations adopt this strategy to reduce costs and symbolize compliance, and courts adjust judicial constructions of fairness to include these emerging organizational practices. To illustrate this model, a case study of equal employment opportunity (EEO) grievance procedures is presented in this article.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)406-454
Number of pages49
JournalAmerican Journal of Sociology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1999


Dive into the research topics of 'The endogeneity of legal regulation: Grievance procedures as rational myth'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this