Making the connection between police information and knowledge use, organizational culture, and information use outcomes

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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North American policing has evolved from the traditional reactive professional model towards models that are ever-increasingly information and knowledge-intensive and skill dependent. Yet information and knowledge sharing within and across police agencies remains problematic, as demonstrated by high profile police investigative failures attributed to poor information sharing by police, ineffective police structures, restrictive technologies, and maladaptive information behaviours, values, and cultures. Two empirical studies of sworn officers from three Canadian municipal police agencies extended an information behaviour and outcome framework previously used in private sector organizations to policing. A total of 134 officers completed a web-based questionnaire about individual and agency organizational information culture and its impact on information use in policing. Study One applied generalised linear modelling regression analysis to examine information management and information behaviours and values within these agencies and discerned which of five behaviour and value factors contributed most to key information use outcomes in policing, namely information proactiveness and information management. Principal component factor analysis uncovered two new information behaviour and value factors that collectively accounted for 71% of the common variance in achievement of these outcomes: information quality control (38%) and proactive collaboration (33%). Significant interactions revealed that the three agencies were distinguished by their information management and sharing behaviours. Increases in information management augmented information use outcomes in a large independent agency and yielded significantly greater information use outcomes in a medium-sized independent agency. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) achieved larger information use outcomes for each unit of information sharing than both independent municipal police agencies. Seven discrete impediments to information sharing were identified in Study Two by applying inductive qualitative analyses of officers’ responses to an open-ended question about perceived impediments to information sharing and use within their agency. Ranking of the impediments was consistent across the three agencies, with organizational structure and organizational culture rated as the top two major sources of impairment. Findings established the relationship between perceived impediments to information and knowledge sharing and the agencies’ structural, technical, and cultural knowledge management capabilities infrastructures. Together, these studies confirmed that Canadian police agencies differed in their information management, information behaviours and values, and/or the achievement of the three key information use outcomes: problem solving, creating work that is beneficial, and information sharing, components that form the foundation of all contemporary North American policing models. The findings contributed to an evidence-based understanding of the dynamics of information behaviours and values within policing, and identified opportunities to improve police policy and practice in a context typified by reduced budgets, limited resources, and increased workloads. Accordingly, police agencies were advised to manage and take a proactive and collaborative stance regarding information behaviours and values within their agencies.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Public Policy
Awarding Institution
  • Charles Sturt University
  • Goodman-Delahunty, Jane, Principal Supervisor
Award date25 Mar 2013
Place of PublicationAustralia
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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