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Abstract: How can normal social order be kept in a country racked by political disorder? This case describes the extreme difficulties faced by the Royal Ulster Constabulary in Northern Ireland as it struggles to define its role in a society divided by religion and plagued by sectarian violence--and in which more policemen are killed each year in the line of duty than the entire state of New York, a jurisdiction with 11 times as many people and five times as many police.
Learning Objective: The case is designed to allow for consideration of organizational strategy design, organizational capacities and routines, contrasting leadership styles (of two heads of the RUC), the effects of organizational insularity and accountability, the role of elite units within organizations, and ethics and human rights dilemmas in a place in which civilians are routinely the targets of bombs but in which authorities seek to maintain traditional British standards of justice.