SAGE Journal Articles

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Article 1: Oberfield, Z. W. (2012). Socialization and self-selection: How police officers develop their views about using force. Administration & Society, 44(6), 702–730. DOI: 10.1177/0095399711420545

Summary: To what extent are bureaucrats’ views shaped by the organizational contexts that they enter? What role do pre-organizational influences have? This study provides some answers to these questions by testing hypotheses drawn from organization and personality theories. Using survey and interview data from a longitudinal study, this article examines how police officers develop their attitudes about using force during their first 2 years on the job. This study shows that development is a mixture of socialization and self-selection. However, it moves beyond the “it’s both” explanation by showing which influences mattered most and at which times.

Questions to Consider:

  1. What were the two key force themes that emerged from the interview data in this study?
  2. How did officers views on the use of force shift during the 2-year study period?
  3. How does organization socialization impact officers’ attitudes and perceptions?


Article 2: Wordern, R. E., Kim, M., Harris, C. J., Pratte, M. A., Dorn, S. E., & Hyland, S. S. (2013). Intervention with problem officers: An outcome evaluation of an EIS intervention. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 40(4), 409–437. doi: 10.1177/0093854812458095

Summary: Police executives have increasingly assumed—or they have been compelled to accept—responsibility for managing the risk of misconduct by their officers through the implementation of early intervention (EI) systems, even though social science has provided very little evidence on their effectiveness, or on their unintended effects. We examine the effects of one police agency’s EI system intervention, the officer–civilian interaction (OCI) school, on indicators of risk-related outcomes—personnel complaints, citizen complaints, use of force, and secondary arrests—and on productivity—arrests, and proactive arrests—for 118 graduates and 118 matched controls. We found that the changes in risk-related outcomes were very similar for both treatment and control groups, and that OCI trainees made fewer proactive arrests and fewer arrests overall than the controls after the training. The implications for managing the risk of misconduct are discussed.

Questions to Consider:

  1. What are the four components found in an early intervention system?
  2. How did officer–civilian interaction school attendance impact the number of complaints and officer received? What about the number of arrests the officers made?
  3. What are some of the errors in using early intervention systems indicators as measures of police misconduct?