Vice-Chancellor's Postdoctoral Research Fellow




Title of Project:

'Individual Conduct, Organizational Failure, and Systemic Wrongdoing: Crafting Effective Institutional Replies'

The aim of this project is to clarify understanding of systemic wrongdoing, a concept that arises repeatedly in the work of public inquiries and other legal processes constituted to address crises of confidence in public agencies, officials and institutions. Systemic wrongdoing refers to wrongdoing that is organizationally diffuse, combining the conduct of individual actors with issues of organizational culture, oversight, and leadership. I'll be studying this phenomenon using case studies drawn from Australia and Canada, and focusing on two very different factual contexts: the first concerning public sector corruption, and the second concerning organizational failure to safeguard against child sexual abuse. By examining how participants within responding legal processes characterize wrongdoing, and assert claims to procedural and substantive justice, I hope to distil something essential about the nature of systemic wrongdoing itself. This will then serve as a starting point for questioning whether standard legal responses can be reformed to better address the interests and demands that flow from systemic failures.