Justice From Within: The Relations Between a Procedurally JustOrganizational Climate and Police Organizational Efficiency, Endorsementof Democratic Policing, And Officer Well-Being

Rick Trinkner, Tom R. Tyler, Phillip Atiba Goff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recent clashes between law enforcement and the public have led to increased attention on policingstrategies that build trust and motivate cooperation in communities through the application of fairprocedures and decision-making. A growing body of policing research has highlighted that officerscommonly report working within police departments that lack procedural fairness and that theseintradepartmental dynamics influence officers motivation and behavior on the street. This study builds onthis work by examining the influence of a procedurally fair organizational climate on officer's organizationalbehavior, commitment to democratic policing, and well-being. Patrol officers and sergeants ina large urban police force completed surveys assessing their perceptions of their department, thecommunities they police, their views on different policing styles, and their well-being. Results showedthat when officers were in a procedurally fair department, they were more likely to trust and feelobligated to obey their supervisors, less likely to be psychologically and emotionally distressed, and lesslikely to be cynical and mistrustful about the world in general and the communities they police inparticular. More importantly, these effects were associated with greater endorsement of democratic formsof policing, increased organizational efficiency, and officer well-being. Taken together these resultsclearly support the utility of infusing procedural justice into the internal working climate as a means toimprove police officer job performance, their well-being, and their relationship with the communitiesthey police.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)158-172
Number of pages15
JournalPsychology, Public Policy, and Law
Volume22
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • democratic policing
  • officer well-being
  • police reform
  • Procedural justice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law

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