POLICE CULTURE AND OFFICER BEHAVIOR: APPLICATION OF A MULTILEVEL FRAMEWORK

Jason R. Ingram, William Terrill, Eugene A. Paoline

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although recent advancements have been made in the understanding and studying of police culture, several significant gaps remain, including deficiencies in theoretical development and the lack of research on culture's influence on police practice. In the current study, we apply a multilevel theoretical framework to the examination of officers’ cultural attitudes and behavior to help bridge these gaps. In doing so, police culture is treated as a collective feature of patrol groups as opposed to as an individual-level attribute. Furthermore, we extend previous work by introducing the concept of culture strength as a moderator of the culture–behavior relationship. After drawing on survey and behavioral data from a national multimethod project, we then test this framework with two empirical examples from each of the primary work environments (i.e., street and organization) in which police culture originates and operates. The findings reveal that workgroup culture is associated with officers’ behaviors, representing a collective effect, and that the relationship between culture and behavior may not always be linear. The results provide support for incorporating a multilevel approach to the study of police culture and officer behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCriminology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

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Keywords

  • multilevel theory
  • occupational attitudes
  • police culture
  • police misconduct
  • police use of force

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law

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