Tradition, tension, and transformation: a structuration analysis of a game warden service in transition

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Independence and competence define the traditional characteristics of a game warden. External pressure to transform the game warden service into a more culturally and ethnically diverse state law enforcement agency, however, creates tensions surrounding these characteristics in the organization's structurationally defined agency and reflexivity of law enforcement; duality of structure in office memos and citation counts; social integration and institutional reproduction of law enforcement training, use of decoys, and search and seizure procedures; and time-space distanciation of working a 40-hour week or having complete responsibility for a territory. The present study examined how these tensions interact with the traditional assumptions of independence and competence to transform the meaning of these characteristics, and of the game warden service itself.

Keywords: Agency; change; competence; distanciation; duality of structure; game warden; independence; institutional reproduction; reflexivity; social integration; structuration; tradition; transformation

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Communication and Journalism, University of Maine 2: Rhetoric of science at the University of Pittsburgh

Publication date: May 1, 2002

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