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Officers at Work in a Multicultural Police Force

NCJ Number
Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies and Management Volume: 30 Issue: 4 Dated: 2007 Pages: 550-566
Coen Heijes
Date Published
17 pages
The paper explores cross-cultural perception and cooperation between Black-Curacao and White-Dutch police officers in the Netherlands.
Results of the research found that ethnic minorities encounter difficulties garnering cooperation with White colleagues. The problematic cooperation between Black-Curacaos and White-Dutch police officers is based neither on cultural differences, nor on the traditional White male organization, but rather is related to the specific, organizational culture in the police, and the hierarchal position of both groups in the organization. There exists a specific White male subculture of the police that is indicative of exclusion processes. A demographically similar, White, masculine government organization in the Netherlands, the Dutch Internal Revenue Service (IRS), was compared with the police. In the IRS, cooperation was markedly better; the police, as a whole, are a more closed organization in which the importance of uniformity and loyalty is stronger. In addition, the external contacts of police officers with Curacaos are more negative than in the IRS. Curacaos reported relatively safe feelings for the pleasant team environment in the IRS; the specific organizational culture of the police led to lower level feeling of safety and acceptance. In spite of the adaptive behavior of the Curacao, the cooperation was considered troublesome, indicating that it is not so much the White, male culture but the more specific organizational culture of the police that is relevant. Although Curacaos indicated that they liked the job, acceptance of non-White policemen did not come easily within the organizational culture. The pressure effects from being an out-group were felt strongly. The data were collected using participant observation, interviews, and literature review. References


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