Factors impacting intra-district collaboration: a field study in a Midwest Police Department
Kulikowski, Amanda L.
Thomas, Gail Fann
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This study focuses on factors that impact police officers’ intra- and inter-district information-sharing patterns. Forty participants completed a survey that identified their communication patterns. Additionally, individual conflict-handling styles were assessed to determine their relationship to information-sharing practices and networks. Finally, nine semi-structured interviews were conducted with patrol officers and detectives to identify additional factors that might explain information-sharing patterns in the department. A social network analysis was conducted with the quantitative data, and the qualitative data were analyzed by thematic coding. The study revealed that an individual’s conflict-handling style (whether it is competing, accommodating, avoiding, compromising, or collaborating) is related to his or her information-sharing habits. The collaborating style yielded a considerably higher number of ego-alter links; the accommodating and competing styles yielded a considerably lower number of ego-alter links. The study demonstrates strong within-role information sharing; officers communicated more with other officers than they did with detectives, and detectives communicated more with other detectives. Likewise, intra-district information sharing was low, while inter-district sharing was high. The interviews revealed several enablers of information sharing: common goals/teamwork, trust, and positive information flow. Barriers included ego, physical barriers, workload, and negative information flow.
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