Profuse research supports that organizational work environments are linked to varying police officers’ work-related attitudes and behaviors. Yet, there remains a lack of information pertaining to how perceptions of organizational fairness may differ among police officers based on job characteristics. To help fill this void, this exploratory research examines differences in fairness perceptions based on officers’ tenure, rank, duty assignment, and department size with their perceptions of organizational fairness. To examine this relationship, an online survey of police officers (n = 1649) in a southern state in the United States that were members of a police officer association was conducted. Findings support that differences in overall fairness perceptions exist for all the aforementioned job characteristics. This study furthers our knowledge and understanding of how job characteristics (e.g., tenure, rank, duty assignment, and department size) may be associated with police officers’ work-related attitudes.
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This was the first time this association has allowed research to be performed with its membership.
The association provided researchers an approximation of the officers that fit the research criteria. The researchers could not determine the exact number of how many officers actually received the email, opened the email, or emails that were returned as undeliverable.
As one reviewer noted, the tenure variable does not account for an officer that may have transferred to a new police agency, and thus not account for a difference in the career path of an officer at a new agency.
To ensure the anonymity of the respondents and the state-wide police association, the state licensing agency was not identified. According to recent law enforcement data from the state licensing board, the demographic composition of officers in the state was approximately 89% White, 75% non-Hispanic, and 89% male and consistent with sample in this study, respectively.
The Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Survey indicated 73% of police officers are White, 11.6% are Hispanic, 12% are female, 68% are assigned to patrol, 16% assigned to investigations, and 10% assigned to special assignments (Reaves, 2015).
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Reynolds, P.D., Helfers, R.C. Differences in Perceptions of Organizational Fairness Based on Job Characteristics among Police Officers. Am J Crim Just 43, 371–388 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12103-017-9404-8
- Organizational justice
- Organizational work experiences