Maurizio Catino, Cristina Dallara

Limited learning rules. Norms and practices in the Superior Council of the Magistracy

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption

To address systemic organizational problems with individual solutions is one of the main weaknesses of organizational and institutional processes of change. Recent scandals related to the Italian High Judicial Council (HJC) have shed light on deviant practices in the selection process of court presidents. In particular, the career system was mostly based on membership in specific organized groups within the judiciary, rather than on the professional value of candidates. This article, adopting an organizational perspective, focuses on the governance of the judiciary and on the functioning of the HJC in the selection process of court presidents. Our explanatory case study, based on many interviews to judges, public prosecutors, and experts of the Italian judicial system, aims at highlighting the «concrete system of action» (Crozier and Friedberg 1977) behind the HJC selection process of court presidents. To this end, the article proceeds as follow: 1) firstly, it describes the gap between the formal and real organization in judicial career management; 2) then, it identifies «good reasons» and systemic nodes that could explain the emergence of alternative models of governance, and 3) finally, it discusses problems related to organizational learning. In particular, the article explains why the reaction of the judicial system to the scandal has been functional for maintaining the status quo, rather than promoting real processes of organizational learning and change.

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