Organizational Reform of Public Institutions by Federal Courts

The effectiveness of participatory approaches


  • William R.F. Phillips
  • Janet Rosenberg



Since the 1950s Federal Courts have become extensively involved in the reform of public institutions in response to the complaints of minority and disadvantaged groups. Many judges, cognizant of the unusual and complex nature of their task, have chosen novel participatory forms of case management. Using the case literature, this paper tries to identify the major forces which influence this choice, and explores the conditions under which participatory structures may or may not be instrumental in achieving institutional reform. Toward these ends, we propose several hypotheses as the basis for future systematic study of the development and outcomes of these non-traditional methods of case management.