Reductionists try to explain a something with a single primary cause – it is common to both the religious and scientific ways of thinking. Astrology is reductionist, Marxism as well, and Freudianism offers another example. Single factors, such as gender or the march of material progress in history, appeal to us because they resonate with a hardwired function in humans, to reduce the number of unknowns.
Postmodernism advocates the opposite of a reductionist approach (See my post of June 7, 2010: plural grounding; and July 25, 2010: multi-dimensional spaces.). It stands behind multiple, inter-related causes. This point comes from Vlatko Vedral, Decoding Reality: the universe as quantum information (Oxford 2010).
To propose some all-encompassing theory of legal departments based on a single motivator would be reductionist, and fatuous. Power could be a candidate, but that is a broad stretch and all things human involve power. Control or elitist hegemony or capitalist gain can conceivably be over-arching constructs, even though laden with ideological correlates. I think the framework for understanding law departments theoretically is more complex. When you realize that physics has identified four fundamental forces (electromagnetic, strong nuclear, weak nuclear and gravity) and no less than 12 fundamental sub-atomic particles, how can you hope for a dominant organizing theme for law department management?