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Organizational stressors and police performance

Dissertation
Author: Jon M. Shane
Abstract:
The evidence on police stress is mixed as to whether or not the nature of police work is inherently stressful. A growing body of research suggests police officers are no more stressed than other groups and police work is not especially stressful. Instead, organizational stressors may be the greatest source of stress in police officers. Various structural arrangements, policies and practices imply police agencies can be inhospitable workplaces, where officers must withstand a variety of daily hassles generated internally by the organization. The purpose of this study is to answer the question: What is the relationship between perceived organizational stressors and police performance? This cross-sectional study pools secondary data collected by the Police Foundation, Washington, D.C. from the Detroit (MI) Police Department (N =113) and primary data collected from the Paterson (NJ) Police Department (N =348) to quantify the level of stress urban police officers may be under. This study uses a non-probability sample of incumbent sworn police officers assigned to the patrol division. Two instruments, the Police Stress Questionnaire (McCreary and Thompson, 2006) and the Daily Hassles and Uplifts Scale (Hart, Wearing and Heady, 1993) are used to measure stress via a composite index (Explanatory variables) extracted from a principle components factor analysis. Internal police data collected from agency records measures performance (Criterion variable) also via a composite index. Controlling for several demographic variables, organizational stressors made a statistically significant contribution to predicting police performance (F =22.316; p <.001). This finding suggests, as the perceived level of stress increases performance decreases. The policy implications include developing a multidimensional performance framework, developing a discipline sentencing matrix, improving management practices and organizational restructuring. Future research should include: (1) Predicting police performance in smaller and mid-size police agencies as well as suburban and rural agencies compared to urban agencies; (2) examining organizational stressors over a longer time period and over the course of different police administrations to provide better insight into how management practices correlate with stress and performance; and (3) widening the participant pool to include superior officers and civilian personnel to estimate the effects of organizational stress on performance for other police employees.

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE

ABSTRACT ........................................................................................................................ ii

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ............................................................................................... vi

TABLE AND FIGURES .....................................................................................................x

CHAPTER

I. INTRODUCTION ...........................................................................................................1 Statement of the Problem ................................................................................................1 Importance of this Study .................................................................................................1 Differentiating Stressors in Policing ...............................................................................5 General Findings of Previous Research ..........................................................................7 Implications .....................................................................................................................9 Framework for the Study ...............................................................................................11

II. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK AND REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE..............14 Theoretical Conception for Organizational Stress ........................................................14 Organizational Antecedents to Stress ...................................................................19 Stressors in Organizational Life ...........................................................................42 Perception and Cognition: The Appraisal Process ...............................................85 Properties of the Person as Stress Mediators ........................................................89 Properties of the Situation as Stress Mediators ....................................................95 Responses to Stress ............................................................................................106 Consequences of Stress ......................................................................................111 Police Performance ......................................................................................................114

III. METHODOLOGY AND RESEARCH DESIGN .....................................................123 Overview of the Research Design ..............................................................................123 Original Police Foundation Study ..............................................................................123 Research Question and Null Hypotheses ...................................................................126 Participants, Informed Consent and Confidentiality Notice ......................................127 Data Sources, Instruments and Validation .................................................................130 Unit of Analysis .........................................................................................................132 Measures ....................................................................................................................132 Site Description and Selection ...................................................................................141

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IV. ANALYSIS AND RESULTS....................................................................................149 Pre-Analysis Data Screening .....................................................................................149 Power Analysis ..........................................................................................................156 Data Reduction (Factor Analysis) ..............................................................................157 Transforming the Variables (Computing the z-scale) ................................................161 Descriptive Statistics ..................................................................................................162 Bivariate Correlation Analysis ...................................................................................167 Difference of Means Analysis ...................................................................................169 Multivariate Analyses ................................................................................................172

V. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION .......................................................................183 Discussion ................................................................................................................183 Summary of Findings .........................................................................................183 Policy Implications .............................................................................................193 Strengths, Limitations and Threats to Validity of the Current Study .................203 Directions for Future Research ...........................................................................214 Conclusion ................................................................................................................215

REFERENCES ................................................................................................................218

APPENDICES .................................................................................................................259

NOTES .............................................................................................................................278

VITA ................................................................................................................................286

KEYWORDS: Police organizations; job stress; police performance; work pressure; hierarchical multiple regression analysis; factor analysis

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This dissertation reflects my experience in policing and marks the end of one chapter in my life and the beginning of another. Being a police officer was an outstanding life experience that formed a natural segue to becoming a police researcher. I wish to thank my exceptionally talented, supportive and loving wife Vincenza, who inspired me to pursue this degree and to “do something you want to do.” She knows me well and has always supported my interests. Her inexhaustible patience and good humor helped make this arduous sojourn tolerable. Few dissertations ever written have been done under the direction of as many industry giants as this one. I am eternally gratefully to my committee and wish to acknowledge them individually. Dr. George Kelling, my chair, began influencing my thoughts and perspective on the police in my formative years in the Newark police department. Of course, he did not know that at the time because I did not know him then. In 1993, I used an article entitled Broken Windows as the foundation for various police programs that just may have changed the way the Newark police approach their protracted crime problem. Dr. Kelling supported me and my topic from the outset and provided me with outstanding advice that helped propel me into my next career. Dr. Marcus Felson has been a friend and mentor for many years and graciously stepped in to fill an unanticipated vacancy on my committee. His research has always interested me because of its straightforward explanation and the obvious implications for police policy and practice. I learned a great deal about crime and criminology from reading his research and listening to him make logical connections between theory and practice.

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Dr. Ronald Clarke is the reason why I chose to pursue doctoral studies. Dr. Clarke has been a friend and mentor for nearly fifteen years. After some course work in the masters program and a few discussions about the doctoral program, he convinced me of the rewards that would follow. I heeded that advice and he has yet to fail me. I owe him a debt of gratitude larger than a single person could repay in one lifetime. His patience with me and his and pursuit of excellence are characteristics I refined during my time at Rutgers. I will use these skills to build on the rich tradition of criminology and hold Dr. Clarke’s name in the highest esteem as I go forward in my second career. Dr. Karen Amendola has been a close friend and mentor for over twelve years. I first met Dr. Amendola when I participated in the Police Fellows program at the Police Foundation Washington, D.C. in 1996. It was then that I truly appreciated why education is an exercise in liberation. We have remained friends and colleagues throughout the years and I anticipate many more! Karen, thank you for all your advice, which has culminated in this treatise. I wish to thank Hubert Williams, President of the Police Foundation for extending the original fellowship opportunity in 1996 and for keeping me involved with the Foundation for the last decade, which served as the basis for this research. Hubert has been a good friend and advisor especially during my years in the Newark Police Department. Thank you, Hubert. I also wish to thank professors and staff at Rutgers who made the doctoral program an enriching experience: Dr. James O. Finkenauer, whom I have known since 1994 and had some of the most intellectual and thought-provoking discussions about criminal justice policy and program evaluation; Dr. Wayne Fisher, a devout professional

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whose advice and candor is second to none! I wish had met Dr. Fisher earlier in my police career so I could have capitalized on his talent to a larger degree; Dr. Edem Avakame for never denying me his time to discuss even the most fundamental topic. Of course, this journey could not have happened without the leadership of the Dean; thank you Dr. Graycar for allowing me to bend your ear and perhaps provide a little fodder toward shaping your legacy at Rutgers. If an article is written and no one reads it, does it exist? Felson asks a similar question. I ask Phyllis Schultze, librarian extraordinaire, who has the unique ability to find that obscure article (Or document, book, periodical) tucked into a journal somewhere in the world. If it exists, then Phyllis will find it! It is just not possible to complete the Ph.D. without Phyllis. Thank you Phyllis for your patience and remember all the delicious pastries! Along any road to a doctoral degree, you are bound to make a few friends and share experiences. In particular, I wish acknowledge Dr. Zeck Lee, Chris Andreychak, Jennifer Kimble, Christine Barrow and Elaine Chernin all of whom follow closely in pursuit of their Ph.D. Before I met Chris did not know how much we had in common in terms of intellectual pursuits and career aspirations. Some day Chris will leave the New Jersey State Police and that day will leave an irreplaceable void in the command staff. Field research like this is always made easier and more enjoyable when it is supported by a willing and gracious host agency. I wish to thank Paterson Police Director Michael Walker and Chief James Wittig for granting me access to their police department. As well, I thank Chief Ella Bully-Cummings, Detroit Police Department for supporting the original Police Foundation project, which sparked my interest in this

ix

research. And, of course, the superb men and women from the Paterson and Detroit police departments who agreed to participate in this study and provide a view from the field about what bothers them so much in their workplace. They say, always save the best for last. So, I have done just that and reserved this space for my beloved son Michael Donovan. Some days when you feel like throwing in the towel, his innocence, precociousness and inquisitiveness remind me how important this venture is to his future as well as mine. Watching him discover the world I already know is pure magic, and that ignites my inspirational fire. Although looking forward seems like an eternity before he graduates from university, looking back on the first four years of his life went by like a strike of lightning. He has used that time wisely to fill it with some of the most memorable moments life has to offer, particularly when asked “Dad, what is a disseration?” I love you Michael, I hope you benefit from this journey as much as I will.

x

TABLES AND FIGURES

PAGE

F IGURES

Figure 1 Theoretical Framework for Organizational Stress .....................................19

Figure 2 through 14 Normal Probability Plots (Q-Q) .............................................153-156

T ABLES

Table 1 Comparison of Military, Police and Fire Department Organizational Environments ...............................................................................................24

Table 2 State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies, by Size of Agency United States ...........................................................................................................60

Table 3 Sherman’s Defiance Theory and its Application to an Administrative Setting ........................................................................................................103

Table 4 Six Alternative Approaches to Evaluating Police Performance and their Terminology ..............................................................................................118

Table 5 The Seven Primary Corporate Stakeholders and their Analogous Police Stakeholders ..............................................................................................119

Table 6 Eleven Police Performance Indicators, within Four Performance Categories ..................................................................................................134

Table 7 Six Previous Studies That Sought to Measure Police Performance ..........134

Table 8 Description of the Measures for the Criterion Variable, Their Source, Their Convention and Explanation ............................................................136

Table 9 Survey Questions for Operational and Organizational Stressors’ Subscales ...................................................................................................139

Table 10 Description of Control Variables .............................................................140

Table 11 z-score Values on Criterion and Explanatory Variables’ Test for Outliers .....................................................................................................152

Table 12 Power Analysis ........................................................................................157

Table 13 KMO and Bartlett’s Test of Assumptions with Determinant Value ........158

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Table 14 Factor Loadings for the Varimax Rotated Factors ...................................159

Table 15 Indexed Factors and Stress Constructs ....................................................160

Table 16 Descriptive Statistics for the Variables in the Analysis ...........................165

Table 17 Bivariate Correlation Matrix among Dependent and Explanatory Variables ..................................................................................................169

Table 18

Paired Samples t Test for Organizational and Operational Stressors Between Cities .........................................................................................170

Table 19 Independent Sample t Test for Stressors by City .....................................171

Table 20 Multiple Regression Analysis Summary Predicting the Change in Police Performance .............................................................................................179

Table 21 Summary of Hierarchical Regression Analysis for Variables Predicting Police Performance ..................................................................................181

Table 22 Summary of Statistical Results ................................................................184

Table 23 Sample Progressive Discipline Sentencing Matrix ..................................198

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CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION Statement of the Problem Occupational stress research has an impressive history with more than three decades of sound studies that show clear correlations between certain organizational factors and stress. However, as best as can be determined, there are no quantitative studies that measure the impact those stressors may have on police performance. Part of the problem may be that defining performance has been a conundrum for many years and there is no consensus among scholars how to operationalize the concept. Compounding the problem is the definition of stress and the instruments used to measure it in police work. This has led researchers to move away from generic stress scales and into domain- specific scales that measure the unique characteristics of policing. This study represents a focused interest in stress research in that it seeks to isolate specific self-reported organizational stressors that may negatively impact police performance, as well as predict the extent of the impact those stressors have on performance. If performance is an element of police professionalism, then determining which organizational stressors are related to lower performance may improve organizational effectiveness. Importance of this Study The literature review suggests police organizations may be a significant source of police stress, which consequently reduces performance. Because performance is an aspect of professionalism, the implication is that reducing stress may raise professionalism including the image and reputation of the agency. Although there is a wealth of research that describes and categorizes the origin and extent of stressors in

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policing, such as those from personal experience (Eisenberg, 1975; Sandy and Devine, 1978), from non-representative samples (Kroes and Gould, 1979), from interviews (Kroes, et. al., 1974) and from stress-control programs (Baxter, 1978; Potter, 1978), there are no studies that quantify the impact organizational stressors have on police performance. “More importantly, the failure to link occupational stress to organizational performance has tended to marginalize the issue of occupational stress in the broader management and organizational behavior literature. It may also explain why managers in many police organizations still view occupational stress as an occupational health and safety issue, rather than an issue that is central to the leadership and management practices of the organization” (Hart and Cotton, 2002:107, citing Hart and Cooper, 2001; see also Wright and Cropanzano, 2000). The organization’s management philosophy, policies and structure translate into operational practices at the line level. My impression is the more onerous these policies, the more likely stress is to develop and negatively influence performance. The message received by the public from a police officer as he or she carries out his or her duty leaves a lasting impression about the organization. Police-citizen encounters that produce conflict and negative emotion are long-lasting and vastly remembered over those interactions that produce collaboration (Dean, 1980; Rosenbaum, et al, 2005; Weitzer and Tuch, 2005). If police officers are laboring under stress and treat citizens in a differential manner, then a negative image of the organization may be imprinted, where trust and legitimacy are vitiated; trust and legitimacy once lost are not easily regained. In this context, stress creates irritability, which lowers the quality of officers’ decisions and leaves them prone to aggression and anger (Park, 1987; Thayer, 1989:110-136). If left in

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a state of perpetual irritability, officers may respond aggressively to even the slightest provocations by misinterpreting the magnitude or seriousness of the event as potentially harmful. Moreover, officers who resort to using alcohol and/or drugs to compensate for stress may increase personal risk and liability due to diminished cognition and sleep deprivation. This means they may not listen carefully to important information broadcasted over the police radio, their reaction time may be slowed and they may take unnecessary risks because their attention is divided (Cottam and Marenin, 1981; Dwyer, 1991; Laub and Kayten, 1988). Although trust and legitimacy are significant threats to organizational effectiveness, other performance dimensions are also threatened. When police officers labor under stress, on-duty motor vehicle accidents and duty-related injuries may rise (Dwyer, 1991). Motor vehicle accidents pose a serious risk to officers nearly as much as assaults; the ratio of motor vehicle accidents to felonious assaults resulting in death is .77:1. This suggests that police officers are nearly as likely to die from accidents as they are from being assaulted (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2006: Table 3.154). In addition to performance problems, there are also empirical problems that must be addressed. Measurement scales that fail to consider the organizational context leaves interventions to focus on the employee instead of the organization as a source of stress, which typically addresses only the “symptoms” and not the causes of occupational stress (Hart and Cotton, 2002:107). Scales such as ASSET—A Shortened Stress Evaluation Tool (Cartwright and Cooper, 2002), the Occupational Stress Indicator (Cooper, Sloan and Williams, 1988), the Life Events Theory (Holmes and Rahe, 1967), and the Job Stress Survey (Speilberger and Reheiser, 1995; Turnage and Speilberger, 1991) are generic and

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may not capture the stressors unique to policing. Findings that rely on these types of measurement scales may attribute blame to the employee for their stress instead of analyzing the organization and its attributes more systematically. For example, the Holmes and Rahe (1967) Social Readjustment Rating Scale assigns an absolute value to various life events termed life change units (LCU) (e.g., death of a spouse = 100 LCU; divorce = 73 LCU; marital separation = 65 LCU). The life events theory suggests over the course of one year, individuals accumulate points for the events in their life that require adjustment. The more significant the event, the more coping that is required; the more coping that is required the greater the investment in personal energy. As an individual expends personal energy trying to cope with these negative events, they eventually reach a state of mental fatigue where they are unable to cope with additional LCU’s. The response may be emotional collapse from burnout, social withdrawal in the form of alcohol or substance abuse and eventually lower performance. There are some limitations with this rating scale and with the theory itself. First, the scale assumes individuals are equally affected by life events and does not account for personality or coping skills since people perceive and respond to events differently. Second, there is no empirical validation for the scale (Hart, Wearing and Heady, 1993:556). Third, while it is possible that police officers may incur a significant life event, research suggests that most police officers will not encounter a job-related life- threatening situation in their entire career (Kirkham and Wollan, 1980). Lastly, daily hassles rather than singular events may be more troublesome to police officers because they represent enduring features of the workplace that are inescapable.

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Measuring stress from an “absolute value” fails to account for individual differences in perceived levels of stress (An internal standard) for various events. It is entirely possible that not all life events affect each person equally, since people may perceive the same event differently—some people may welcome a divorce. This may be why past research has found that police stress may not be as significant as once believed. Indeed, officers may be mentally prepared to deal with events such as abuse and death, and therefore may not perceive these events as particularly stressful (Hageman, 1978; Hughes, 1945; Rand and Manuele, 1987; Ward, 1979). This research relies on two domain-specific instruments that are unique to police organizations. Therefore, the scales are more likely to measure the true nature of stress in policing. Differentiating Stressors in Policing There are two generally accepted sources of stress in policing, those arising from “job content” and those arising from “job context.” Job content, or operational stressors, are the aspects of police work inherent in the occupation: Operational overtime, 1 court overtime (Boorstin, 1986; Crank et al., 1993; Davis, 1983; Duggan, 1993; Harriston, 1993; Kroes, 1985; Savery et al., 1993), outside employment 2 Organizational or “job context” stressors may be a greater source of stress for police officers because officers may perceive them as oppressive, unnecessary and (Arcuri et al., 1987; Bayley, 1994:67; Reiss, 1988; Vila, 2000) and job-related violence (Amaranto, Steinberg, Castellano and Mitchell, 2003; Glasser, 1999). While research on operational stressors has dominated the literature, there is also an impressive body of research that suggests organizational stressors may be a significant source of stress for police officers. This literature is limited in its relationship to police performance.

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inescapable. 3 Job-context stressors include characteristics of the organization and behaviors of the people in them that may produce stress. It is interesting to note that although Amaranto and colleagues (2003:52) investigated the need for stress interventions due to job-related violence 4 1. Being “second-guessed” in field work (Possibly due to unsupportive supervisors and managers); —a “job-content” stressor—the research participants (Rank and file police officers) from the Newark (NJ) police department specifically identified several “job-context” stressors as a direct source of stress: 2. Punishment for “minor” infractions (Nitpicking de minimis infractions from autocratic managers and zealous internal affairs investigators); 3. Lack of reward for a job well done (Unsupportive management); 4. Fear of being “degunned”—having their department issued firearm and personal firearms administratively confiscated by the department for personal or stress- related problems (Lack of support); and 5. Low morale—a result of the aforementioned conditions (Possibly due to unsupportive management and favoritism).

Job-context stressors that are likely to create stress and tension in the police milieu include organizational structure (i.e., bureaucracy, capacity, and work schedules) (Monk, 1988; O’Neill and Cushing, 1991; Peacock, et al., 1983; Pierce and Dunham, 1992; Pilcher and Huffcutt, 1996; Rosa et al., 1989; Scott, 1990) and various aspects of organizational life (i.e., facilities and equipment, role ambiguity, and role conflict) (Alexander et al., 1993; Brown and Campbell, 1990; Brown et al., 1999; Cooper et al., 1982; Gershon, 2000; Glowinkowski and Cooper, 1985; Gudjonsson and Adlam, 1985; Manolias, 1983; Robinson, 1981; Vila, 1996; Vila and Kenney, 2002). These features seem to hold over cross-cultural comparisons between U.S. and foreign police agencies. Various stress studies in the South African Police Service (SAPS) revealed similar findings including lack of supervisory and management support (Gulle, Tredoux, and

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Foster 1998; Koortzen, 1996), indifference of command staff officers, limited opportunities for promotion, working conditions and poor support systems (Roosendaal, 2002). These conditions may combine with various personal or situational mediators (i.e., personality, self-esteem, locus of control and supervisory support) to mediate performance. General Findings of Previous Research Employees in the human-service professions—those occupations where employees have an obligation for other people’s health, safety or well-being—such as care providers (i.e., nurses, physicians, radiation assistants and general practitioners) (Griffiths, et al., 2003; LeBlanc and Schaufeli, 2003, Winefield, 2003), correction officers (Cullen, et al, 1985), teachers (Greenglass and Burke, 2003), the clergy (Cotton, et al., 2003) and police officers (Hart and Cotton, 2002), are particularly vulnerable to stress (Cherniss, 1980). In these professions, stress results primarily from the structural arrangement of the organization and because the agents exercise very little control over their clientele (Cherniss, 1980), the intended outcomes of their service are subject to annoying and objectionable interactions with their clientele (Albrecht, 1979) and they often experience a disjunction between career goals and actual achievement (e.g., the route to promotion) (Edelwich, 1980; Pearlin, 1989). Police work is a human-service profession that bears some of these features since the work is regarded as physically and emotionally demanding. The evidence, however, is mixed regarding the nature of police work as inherently stressful. Researchers, police practitioners, health-care professionals, psychologists, as well as the lay community contend that police work is inherently stressful (Brown and Campbell, 1994; Burke,

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1994; Cacioppe and Mock, 1985; Fell, Richard and Wallace, 1980; Kroes, 1985:32-36; Seigler and Wilson, 1988; Stratton, 1978; Tang and Hommontree, 1992; Violanti and Aron, 1993; Violanti et al., 1986, Yarmey, 1990). This belief is intuitively appealing, especially when stereotypical Hollywood images, noteworthy media coverage and fictional portrayals enhance the image that police officers are exposed to the seamier side of life that is filled with unsavory or dangerous individuals, critical or traumatic incidents, 5 Yet, it may not be the nature of police work that generates the greatest amount of stress in police officers. There is a growing body of research that suggests police officers are no more stressed than other groups (Hart et al., 1995; Kirkcaldy et al., 1998), including a number of researchers who argue there is little or no empirical evidence to support the conventional belief that police work itself is especially stressful (e.g., Anson and Bloom, 1988; Brown and Campbell, 1990; Hart et al., 1994b, 1995; Lawrence, 1984, Malloy and Mays, 1984; Terry, 1981). The empirical research does not support the image that police officers suffer from stress and frustration that is as extreme as many believe (French, 1975:60, 63; Kroes et al., 1974) nor is police work itself beyond the officers’ emotional capabilities (Blackmore, 1978:47; Resier, 1973:6). There is some research that suggests individual coping mechanisms become embedded in a police officer’s personality, which enables them to deal with death and hysteria and accept these unpredictability and boredom punctuated by moments of sudden adrenaline surges. Perhaps this is true to a limited extent. However, these conditions are infrequent for many officers who work in a field setting, especially for officers working in suburban and rural agencies compared to their urban counterparts, and even less so for those assigned to administrative functions.

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facts in their lot as police officers much the same way morticians routinely deal with dead bodies (Hageman, 1978; Hughes, 1945; Rand and Manuele, 1987; Ward, 1979). Admittedly, “job-content” stressors may affect an officer’s well being or performance (Coman and Evans, 1991). However, as some researchers argue (Cattell, 1967), police officers are an emotionally stable group that have a temperament amenable to dealing with people. More importantly, “job-content” stressors are not necessarily part of the daily hassles related to the organizational structure, which many officers must endure throughout their career. Implications Police officers can neither escape from nor control the daily job-context stressors. The more officers perceive the organization (i.e., police management) has failed them by creating unnecessary stress, the more the officers will unite around an anti-managerial theme that arises from a “…fundamental distrust of superior officers and bureaucratic administration” (Pollock-Byrne, 1989:78; see also Brown, 1981:82). The notion that the organization for which an individual is employed is the cause of their stress is counterintuitive, yet studies show officers frequently cite organizational stressors as more onerous than operational stressors, primarily because they cannot control them (Alexander, et al., 1991; Crank and Caldero, 1991; Davey et al., 2001; Kroes et al., 1974). The working environment for many police officers is not often regarded as a source of “job enrichment” or enjoyment. Instead, it is seen as an objectionable, stifling atmosphere that must be endured and often leaves casualties of burnout, cynicism and low performance in its wake (Zhao, Thurman and He, 1999).

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The implication is that police agencies can be inhospitable workplaces, where officers must withstand a variety of daily hassles generated internally by the organization. Kelling and Pate (1975:117) noted over three decades ago, while there seems to be public “…[concern] over how the police behave , there is little concern as to how the police feel Correcting these issues necessarily requires police administrators to embrace non- traditional policing models such as community-policing (Hart and Cotton, 2002; National Research Council, 2004), to flatten the organizational structure, to acknowledge managerial shortcomings and modify the working environment before any permanent change can be made. Identifying the nexus between organizational stressors and performance represents an opportunity for police management to shape organizational philosophy, operational policy and the style of policing that is practiced (Hart and Cotton, 2003; Terrill, 1997) in a way that embraces employees to reduce stress and improve performance.

as a result of their assigned role, and as to how these feelings correlate with behavior and with emotional and physical well being.” The emotional well-being and performance of police officers may be linked to various features of the organization including its structure, capacity (i.e., staffing) and various stressors in organizational life. When resources are apportioned in an inequitable manner or officers are treated “unfairly” due to favoritism (e.g., being skipped for a promotion; being denied a coveted position; receiving disparate treatment during an internal affairs investigation or during a disciplinary hearing), they may view the agency as unnecessarily harsh, capricious and punitive emanating from incompetent and illegitimate authorities (Weber, 1971).

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Framework for the Study The purpose of this research is to examine the relationship between organizational stressors and police performance. As an element of professionalism, police performance represents the service-related activities of a government entity that are essential for community stability. How that service is delivered is almost entirely dependent upon the employees who are responsible for its execution. When those employees are laboring under stress, the likelihood that performance will be diminished is heightened. The present study aims to extend the scholarly knowledge of what we know about stress in law enforcement into a new area by answering the question: What is the relationship between perceived organizational stressors and police performance? To lay the groundwork that will answer this question, Chapter II begins with organizational stress theory and the related literature, which highlights some of the shortcomings of previous studies. Following a model of organizational stress developed by Kahn and Byosiere (1992), there are seven components that will be examined: 1) Organizational antecedents, 2) stressors in organizational life, 3) perception and cognition, 4) properties of the situation as stress mediators, 5) properties of the person as stress mediators, 6) responses to stress and 7) consequences of stress. The limitations of previous research establish the framework for Chapter III, methodology and research design. The methodology section provides an extensive explanation of the methodological process including the research question, null hypotheses, participants, data sources, data collection procedure, unit of analysis, measures (Criterion, explanatory and control variables), site description and site selection.

Full document contains 299 pages
Abstract: The evidence on police stress is mixed as to whether or not the nature of police work is inherently stressful. A growing body of research suggests police officers are no more stressed than other groups and police work is not especially stressful. Instead, organizational stressors may be the greatest source of stress in police officers. Various structural arrangements, policies and practices imply police agencies can be inhospitable workplaces, where officers must withstand a variety of daily hassles generated internally by the organization. The purpose of this study is to answer the question: What is the relationship between perceived organizational stressors and police performance? This cross-sectional study pools secondary data collected by the Police Foundation, Washington, D.C. from the Detroit (MI) Police Department (N =113) and primary data collected from the Paterson (NJ) Police Department (N =348) to quantify the level of stress urban police officers may be under. This study uses a non-probability sample of incumbent sworn police officers assigned to the patrol division. Two instruments, the Police Stress Questionnaire (McCreary and Thompson, 2006) and the Daily Hassles and Uplifts Scale (Hart, Wearing and Heady, 1993) are used to measure stress via a composite index (Explanatory variables) extracted from a principle components factor analysis. Internal police data collected from agency records measures performance (Criterion variable) also via a composite index. Controlling for several demographic variables, organizational stressors made a statistically significant contribution to predicting police performance (F =22.316; p <.001). This finding suggests, as the perceived level of stress increases performance decreases. The policy implications include developing a multidimensional performance framework, developing a discipline sentencing matrix, improving management practices and organizational restructuring. Future research should include: (1) Predicting police performance in smaller and mid-size police agencies as well as suburban and rural agencies compared to urban agencies; (2) examining organizational stressors over a longer time period and over the course of different police administrations to provide better insight into how management practices correlate with stress and performance; and (3) widening the participant pool to include superior officers and civilian personnel to estimate the effects of organizational stress on performance for other police employees.