Rule breaking in social care: hierarchy, contentiousness and informal rules

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Breslin, Dermot
Wood, Geoffrey
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2016
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Abstract

Taking a longitudinal case study approach, this article examines the process of rule breaking in a newly formed UK domiciliary care provider. In this study, the founder acted in such a manner so as to partially decouple the organization from externally imposed institutional rules and regulations, allowing the emergence of informal rules between carer and client. These informal rules increasingly guided the behaviours of care workers over time, resulting in the breach of formal strictures. Building on the dimensions of hierarchy and contentiousness, rule breaking is conceptualized here as a phenomenon which occurs as a result of the tension between competing formal and informal rules, at multiple levels throughout the organizational hierarchy.

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Work, Employment and Society

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© The Author(s) 2015. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 License which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).

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Applied economics

Quality management

Sociology

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