Balancing value and effort: a classic grounded theory of frontline police practice

Ash, Daniel P ORCID: 0000-0002-7486-2127 (2021) Balancing value and effort: a classic grounded theory of frontline police practice. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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This thesis seeks to explain the behaviour of frontline police officers engaged in incident work. Policymakers try to improve police legitimacy by changing how individual police officers interact with the public at police incidents. However, police practice has been particularly resistant to change, and professional and academic work that explains why this might be the case is underdeveloped. This thesis explores these issues from an interactional perspective; asking the questions – how do police officers behave, and why do they behave in that manner? The classic grounded theory method was used to collect and analyse data from officer interviews and body-worn video footage from police incidents within an English county in 2019. It is argued that officers seek to balance the level of effort they use at an incident against the value that they perceive that the incident represents. An incident is of value if an officer is afforded an opportunity to perform the role of an imagined police identity involving socio-culturally constructed notions of 'real' crime, 'real' victims and 'real' criminals. If value and effort are ‘unbalanced’, then an officer feels frustration and seeks to correct that imbalance by subconsciously shaping the behaviour of incident participants. Officer behaviour can be categorised into one of two types: binary retreat or binary deconstruction. Officers alternate between these two behaviour types to shape the behaviour of incident participants; trying to achieve a balance between value and effort. The theory can be used to improve police practice by changing how training is designed and how policy is created. The significance and relationship of value and effort in driving police behaviour have, to date, not been explored within existing literature as an explanation of frontline police practice.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: The full thesis can be downloaded from the official URL.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Frontline policing, England; Grounded theory
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management > HD58 Organizational behavior, change and effectiveness. Corporate culture
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology.
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology. > HV7231 Criminal justice administration > HV7551 Police. Detectives. Constabulary.
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Education and Science
Research Priority Areas: Society and Learning
Depositing User: Daniel Ash
Date Deposited: 29 Apr 2021 08:36
Last Modified: 01 Sep 2023 16:03

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