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Advancing a Theory of Police Officer Training Motivation and Receptivity

NCJ Number
Justice Quarterly Volume: Online Dated: 2019
Date Published
23 pages

This study advances a theory of officer training motivation and receptivity that provides a useful framework for training evaluation, and it reports on testing it using survey data from a group of officers randomly assigned to a long-term, social-interaction training program.


There is little evidence about "what works" in police training. The good news is that training evaluations are becoming more common. As we build this evidence base, we need to explore the factors that predict whether officers are receptive to the training programs they complete. The results of the testing of the proposed strategy demonstrates that trainees' internal locus of control was associated with their motivation to train. In turn, training motivation was associated with receptivity to the training (i.e., training satisfaction and perceived skill acquisition). Additionally, officers' evaluations of supervisor organizational justice were positively associated with perceived skill acquisition. The article concludes with a discussion of avenues for future refinement and testing of the theoretical framework. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2019