msc disseration (linkedin) august 2016

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  • An explorative study of the relationship between

    police officer morale, behaviours, and the delivery of

    public value services.

    by

    Elena Collins

    Canterbury Christ Church University

    Thesis submitted

    for the degree of MSc by Research

    2016

  • MSc thesis by Elena Collins (August 2016) Page 2 of 130

    An explorative study of the relationship between police officer

    morale, behaviours, and the delivery of public value services.

    ABSTRACT

    Aims: To examine the relationship between the workplace morale drivers of police

    officers and the delivery of public-facing policing services.

    Design and participants: One qualitative study in England involving semi-structured

    interviews with 10 police officers of federated rank.

    Measurements: A preliminary survey asked Participants to choose from a series of

    known morale drivers, and to state additional drivers not captured. Six broad

    categories of driver subsequently formed the guiding framework for participant

    interviews.

    Findings: Four types of morale driver were found to be most relevant to rank-and-file

    police officers: (a) leadership; (b) target/performance culture; (c) supportive

    networks/role models; and (d) force systems/processes. Police leadership comprising

    Superintendents, NPCC ranks and a small number of police-related agencies, was the

    primary factor. Police morale and legitimacy were found to be associated in the

    context of public encounters and partnership working.

    Conclusion: The research suggests that London-based, federated officers are

    expected to be uncommonly stoic, tolerant, selfless and morally courageous in a

    working environment which subjects them to unrealistic expectations and frequent

    undermining, where functional support systems and authentic role models are difficult

    to find. It appears that the politicisation of policing, weaknesses in leadership and

    elements of workplace dysfunction combine to underpin a seemingly widespread

    disregard for the physical and psychological needs of the workforce. The research

    suggests a transactional working environment exists where officers are subject to

    micromanagement tactics that directly conflict with and prevent the official expectation

    that each police officer, regardless of rank, will lead by good example.

  • MSc thesis by Elena Collins (August 2016) Page 3 of 130

    Contents

    ABSTRACT .......................................................................................................................... 2

    INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................................. 7

    Workplace morale versus job satisfaction ................................................................ 7

    Organisational citizenship, performance effectiveness and morale .................... 8

    A workforce reliant upon perceptions of legitimacy ............................................... 9

    Political influence and sector reform ....................................................................... 10

    Finding a balance ......................................................................................................... 10

    Moores strategic triangle ........................................................................................... 11

    The question of a unique workforce ......................................................................... 12

    METHODOLOGY ............................................................................................................... 14

    Choosing the correct approach................................................................................. 14

    Strategy and design ..................................................................................................... 15

    Managing interpretive bias ......................................................................................... 16

    Finding research participants .................................................................................... 17

    Deciding on participant criteria ................................................................................. 19

    Protecting participant identities ................................................................................ 21

    Conducting a preliminary survey .............................................................................. 22

    Identifying the survey format ..................................................................................... 23

    Gaining participant consent ....................................................................................... 25

    Preparing for interviews ............................................................................................. 25

    Considering the individual being interviewed ........................................................ 27

    Follow up research and analysis .............................................................................. 28

    FINDINGS ........................................................................................................................... 30

    Themes of discussion ................................................................................................. 30

    Police Leadership......................................................................................................... 30

    Qualification and competence ............................................................................... 32

    Eligibility .................................................................................................................... 34

    Strategy and decision making ............................................................................... 34

    Individualistic mindset ............................................................................................ 35

    Standing up to external influences ....................................................................... 36

    Communication......................................................................................................... 37

    Setting an example................................................................................................... 39

  • MSc thesis by Elena Collins (August 2016) Page 4 of 130

    Empowering others .................................................................................................. 40

    Target and/or Performance Culture .......................................................................... 41

    Politics-led policing ................................................................................................. 44

    Professional standards ........................................................................................... 46

    Independent Police Complaints Commission..................................................... 48

    Policing Code of Ethics ........................................................................................... 49

    Breeding dysfunction and disregard .................................................................... 50

    Supportive networks and role models ..................................................................... 53

    Employer Force......................................................................................................... 54

    Partner agencies ....................................................................................................... 54

    Role Models ............................................................................................................... 58

    Media and Public ...................................................................................................... 66

    Individual and/or personal networks .................................................................... 67

    Career opportunities ................................................................................................ 69

    Systems and Processes ............................................................................................. 70

    HR centralisation ...................................................................................................... 70

    Resource allocation ................................................................................................. 73

    Force communications............................................................................................ 75

    Supporting technology ............................................................................................ 76

    Best and Worst aspects of the job ............................................................................ 77

    Officer welfare ............................................................................................................... 79

    Occupational health ................................................................................................. 79

    Other welfare issues raised .................................................................................... 82

    Matters that breed dysfunction ................................................................................. 83

    Emergency service of last resort .......................................................................... 84

    Keeping up appearances ........................................................................................ 86

    The mediocre empire .............................................