In the constantly changing world, every organization needs to adjust to the current environment and alter according to the dictates of the time, and police departments are also subject to this phenomenon. In this context, police staff should perceive change as a normal part of their working process. To administer change is the task of the utmost importance for supervisors. This paper will examine the steps that may be taken and the way they are implemented in practice.
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Organizational changes are often associated with failure: employees who identify themselves with their organization regard innovations as threats to their identities (Jacobs, van Witteloostuijn, and Christe-Zeyse 780). It implies the necessity to govern adaptive behavior by means of the leader–member exchange strategy (LMX). Contacts with a supervisor are especially valuable during adaptation to shifting because they are likely to reduce employees’ resistance to change and help reach their work-related goals in a new setting (Van den Heuvel, Demerouti, and Bakker 849). If personnel can express their opinion and communicate with leaders, their cooperation will be more effective and purposeful because actual problems will be discussed. It is the interaction that gives staff an opportunity to create their new identity. Among police officers, LMX is considered a desirable approach (Van den Heuvel et al. 21).
Another step may be to address to the experience of other police departments within and outside the country. Since changes occur regularly, the past exemplifies the most productive strategies and tools that will probably be useful. In this respect, dealing with the tendency to resist change is particularly important: many departments have their long-standing institutional traditions and try to avoid any innovations (Cox, Marchionna, and Fitch 75). For example, police used to be an insular institution, but the New York City Police Department (NYPD) became one of the pioneers introducing transparency and openness (White 40). The matter of primary importance was to deal with many new recruits. It was relevant for the internal policy: data significant for decision-making, such as investments, support operations, government policy, regulation, and control, became available (De Wolff, Drenth, and Thierry 196). The fundamental method of persuasion was discussion.
The third possible step is to collaborate with police unions. They are notable for collective bargaining and the policy-making process, including the right to negotiate disciplinary practices: membership in a police union makes officers submit to the rules and policies that govern the agency and uphold them (Shane 68). A supervisor may contact union leaders and discuss changes. As working conditions improvement is one of the main tasks for unions, alterations in this sphere will presumably be in the focus of stakeholders’ attention. However, other changes may also be considered: for instance, unions can educate employees with information about certain changes at the police authorities’ request. Unfortunately, this step is not typically followed in real life situations, and little research concerning supervisors and police unions’ interaction has been conducted.
To sum up, change has always been a part of police officers’ occupational world: retirement, resignation, promoting, and other issues are usual. Under such circumstances, it is significant for a supervisor to manage change properly. Three possible steps may be identified: the leader–member exchange strategy, the experience of other departments, and collaboration with police units. In the nowadays practice, police organizations typically follow the first two steps while cooperation with unions is still uncommon.
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De Wolff, Charles, Pieter Drenth, and Henk Thierry. A Handbook of Work and Organizational Psychology. Hove: Psychology Press, 2013. Print.
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Shane, Jon M. “Police Employee Disciplinary Matrix an Emerging Concept.” Police Quarterly 15.1 (2012): 62-91.
Van den Heuvel, Machteld, Evangelia Demerouti, and Arnold B. Bakker. “How Psychological Resources Facilitate Adaptation to Organizational Change.” The European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology 23.6 (2014): 847-858. Print.
White, Michael D. “The New York City Police Department, Its Crime Control Strategies and Organizational Changes, 1970-2009.” Justice Quarterly 31.1 (2014): 74-95. Print.