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Police Culture and Officer Behavior Application of a Multilevel Framework

NCJ Number
Criminology Volume: 56 Issue: 4 Dated: 2018
Jason R. Ingram; William Terrill; Eugene A. Paoline III
Date Published
32 pages
This article reports on a study that applied a multilevel theoretical framework to the examination of officers cultural attitudes and behavior, so as to help bridge gaps in research on police culture.

The study treats police culture as a collective feature of patrol groups, rather than as an individual level attribute. Furthermore, the study extends previous work by introducing the concept of culture strength as a moderator of the culture behavior relationship. After drawing on survey and behavioral data from a national multimethod project, the study tested this framework with two empirical examples from each of the primary work environments (i.e., street and organization) in which police culture originates and operates. The findings reveal that workgroup culture is associated with officers behaviors, representing a collective effect, and that the relationship between culture and behavior may not always be linear. The results provide support for incorporating a multilevel approach to the study of police culture and officer behavior. (publisher abstract modified)