Managing the Stress of Organizational Change

By Sewell, James D. | The FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, March 2002 | Go to article overview

Managing the Stress of Organizational Change


Sewell, James D., The FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin


Law enforcement agencies are in an era of change. The needs of communities and constituencies, rapid technological growth and enhancements, and the changing capabilities and structures of law enforcement organizations demand that agencies regularly examine and improve their ways of operation. According to some futurists, changes in a society occur in several major areas, directly affecting law enforcement and compounding the stress inherently associated with the profession.

CHANGES FACING LAW ENFORCEMENT

From a social perspective, communities are undergoing major and rapid demographic change. Police agencies have increased their racial, ethnic, and sexual diversity and have continued to improve the educational level of officers. At the same time, the employment of persons of heterogeneous age ranges has added new challenges and opportunities.

From a technological perspective, advanced information systems now allow citizens to have real-time information relating to crime, and many departments provide officers with their own computers. From 1993 to 1997, the percentage of local police departments using infield computers grew from 13 percent to 29 percent, which includes 73 percent of all officers employed. (1) Information once dependent upon access and transmission by dispatchers from antiquated computer systems is now instantly at officers' fingertips in their patrol cars.

Technological advances go beyond mere access to information. DNA technology and automated fingerprint identification systems (AFIS) foster the more definitive and rapid identification of unknown offenders, and enhanced ballistics technology allows for identification of weapons from shell casings instead of merely retrieved projectiles.

From an economic perspective, the United States is in an era of unparalleled growth, and many local governments, especially those relying upon property and sales taxes, have enhanced their tax bases. Concurrently, revenues available for law enforcement agencies, including federal funding, have increased. On the other hand, with unemployment rates at one of the lowest levels in history, law enforcement finds itself competing with the higher pay and better benefits of the private sector to hire the best and brightest young persons beginning their professional careers.

Additionally, environmental changes now pose a major concern to law enforcement. In such states as California, Texas, Florida, and Arizona, the infrastructure cannot handle the population explosion. Dealing with the urban sprawl, traffic congestion, and water restrictions have become law enforcement matters. Disasters, from hurricanes to tornadoes to fires, increasingly occupy the attention of law enforcement agencies and their personnel.

Finally, political change has tremendous impact on law enforcement agencies. Significantly, an increased focus on communitarianism (2) and the emergence of strong grassroots involvement at the neighborhood level have increased in recent years. Now, more than before, citizens want to be involved in the governance of their communities. As a direct result, community-based criminal justice (policing, victim services, corrections, and prosecution) is increasingly the norm, (3) and criminal justice agencies continue to remold their philosophy, structure, and tactics to meet community expectations and needs.

Concurrent with increased community-based efforts, many law enforcement agencies, like their private sector counterparts, are flattening their organizational structure, reducing the steps between entry level personnel and the chief executive officer (CEO). "The effect of flattening the hierarchical structure is to devolve decision-making authority and responsibility to the working level. This allows the principle of 'empowerment' to operate. Empowerment is the organizational principle of allowing those at the operational level of an organization, who know local conditions and needs, to make their own decisions about how their work should be done to best effect. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Managing the Stress of Organizational Change
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.