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Destroying SanctuaryThe Crisis in Human Service Delivery Systems$
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Sandra L. Bloom and Brian Farragher

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195374803

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195374803.001.0001

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Punishment, Revenge, and Organizational Injustice

Punishment, Revenge, and Organizational Injustice

(p.297) Chapter 10 Punishment, Revenge, and Organizational Injustice
Destroying Sanctuary

Sandra L. Bloom

Brian Farragher

Oxford University Press

The notion that “punishment works” is simply taken for granted as true, part of our existing mental model for dealing with other people. Here this chapter asks whether punishment actually is effective and under what conditions. In chronically stressed organizations, as leaders become more authoritarian and their efforts to correct problems are ineffective, leaders are likely to become increasingly punitive in an effort to exert control. But organizational practices that are perceived as unjust evoke a very human desire for vengeance. As in the case of the chronically stressed individual, shame, guilt, anger and a desire for justice can combine with unfortunate consequences for individuals and for the organization. When this is happening the organization may become both socially irresponsible and ethically compromised. The chapter explores what happens when good people do bad things, including when otherwise decent people stand around and watch unjust behavior and do nothing.

Keywords:   revenge, obedience to authority, The Lucifer Effect, bystanders, organizational justice, organizational injustice, organizational retaliation, punishment, organizational ethics, moral development, ethical dilemmas

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