Police Psychology into the 21st Century

By Martin I. Kurke; Ellen M. Scrivner | Go to book overview

CHAPTER NINETEEN
Organizational Management of Stress and Human Reliability

Martin I. Kurke Drug Enforcement Adminstration (Retired) and George Mason University

This chapter treats stress as it affects human performance within the context of police organizational needs. Stress is generated from a number of different categories of sources and is manifested in terms of changes in human reliability, which in turn impact the effectiveness of the organization. A dynamic model of stress generation as a mediator of both individual and organizational value systems is presented. Various sources of human reliability are considered together with means of preventing or correcting lowered human reliability. The model is then elaborated on and extended to include various forms of management interventions directed to reduction of harmful stress, thereby enhancing individual and group work performance and, in turn, improving organizational effectiveness.


THE NEED TO OPTIMIZE STRESS IN POLICE ORGANIZATIONS

It is no secret that police officers are being subjected to an inordinate amount of stress, and that stress is a two-edged sword. It has long been recognized that the quality of performance will increase in response to certain stressors up to some point, after which there occur degradations of performance ( Yerkes & Dodson, 1908). It follows then, that to survive and grow, any organization must ensure the existence of an optimal amount of stress on its staff. Stress, if properly managed, can motivate activities that result in survival

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