Relational demography and officer occupational attitudes: The influence of workgroup context

Jason R. Ingram, William Terrill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: Researchers have long held an interest in understanding what role officer demographics play in explaining occupational attitudes. Despite this interest, evidence has consistently shown such relationships to be inconsistent. Using a relational demography framework that is based on the notion that demographic effects are contextual rather than universal across all officers, the current study examines the extent to which officer demographics influences their occupational attitudes when viewed in relation to other officers in their assigned workgroup. Methods: Surveys of 1,022 patrol officers assigned to 187 workgroups were used to examine demographic effects across a number of occupational attitudes. A series of multilevel modeling techniques were used to test the viability of the relational demography framework. Results: Certain demographic effects changed or were attenuated after accounting for workgroup membership. Demographic effects were also found to differ across workgroup contexts. Finally, results for job satisfaction indicated that gender and experience effects were dependent upon the demographic and cultural context of the workgroup. Conclusions: Demographic-attitudinal relationships are influenced by the broader workgroup environment. The results also highlight the importance of taking into consideration non-independence issues associated with attitudes and demographics from both theoretical and analytical perspectives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-320
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Criminal Justice
Volume42
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law

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