Professor Shih-Chun “Steven” Chien has published an article in the Minnesota Journal of International Law titled, “Cultivating Sense: Cultural Change in the Prosecutor’s Office.”
Professor Chien’s article constructs a new paradigm for the understanding of cultural change within prosecutors’ offices. It reveals a troublesome paradox about modern prosecutorial power. The article argues that to transform organizational culture, prosecutors need to forge a new type of power based on their “sense-making authority.” Meanwhile, the same power enables prosecutors to create an opaque process that bypasses organizational structure and reduces external accountability. To build the theory of cultural change, Professor Chien relies on a comparative case-study approach based on ethnographic research. Professor Chien conducted extensive research on site at a group of district attorneys’ offices led by “progressive prosecutors” across the United States and a district prosecutor’s office located in a metropolitan area of Taiwan.
Professor Chien proposes a contested cultural change model and explores ways in which the model could contribute much-needed theoretical and strategic groundings to the comparative study of prosecutorial reforms across different jurisdictions.