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Decision Making in a Hybrid Organization: A Case Study of a Southwestern Drug Court Treatment Program

Authors

  • Kimberly M. Baker

    Corresponding author
    1. Ithaca College
      Kimberly Baker is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Ithaca College. Her research focuses on social control, courtroom decision making, and addiction and treatment in the criminal justice system. The author wishes to thank Mary Rose, Mark Warr, William Kelley, Christine Williams, and Laura Lein for their feedback. An earlier version of this article was presented at the 2009 Annual Meeting of the Law and Society Association in Denver, Colorado. This research was approved by the University of Texas at Austin IRB. Please direct all correspondence to kmbaker@ithaca.edu.
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Kimberly Baker is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Ithaca College. Her research focuses on social control, courtroom decision making, and addiction and treatment in the criminal justice system. The author wishes to thank Mary Rose, Mark Warr, William Kelley, Christine Williams, and Laura Lein for their feedback. An earlier version of this article was presented at the 2009 Annual Meeting of the Law and Society Association in Denver, Colorado. This research was approved by the University of Texas at Austin IRB. Please direct all correspondence to kmbaker@ithaca.edu.

Abstract

This article presents a case study of decision making in a drug court located the southwestern United States. This study seeks to fill a gap in research on decision making by attending to the ways that drug court officials navigate the demands of a court that is dedicated to both therapy and criminal justice. This analysis differs from previous research by viewing the drug court as a “hybrid organization” and asking how the staff members interact in the decision-making process. Additionally, this research provides an opportunity to investigate the concerns over collaborative decision making raised by critics. The data from this case study reveal that as a hybrid organization, the drug court staff often divides along institutional lines by allowing the counseling staff to manage treatment and the judge to manage punishment. When tensions arise, they are resolved by the structure of the court, which is hierarchical rather than collaborative.

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