Police less proactive after negative public scrutiny, study says

phys.org | 6/3/2019 | Staff
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Public safety officers know that their profession could draw them into the line of fire at any moment, as it did recently for six officers wounded in a shooting standoff in Philadelphia.

Yet, in an age when cellphone videos of police misconduct can go viral, the new social phenomenon of "cop shaming" is causing performance problems in police departments nationwide.

Research - McCombs - School - Business - University

According to new research from the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin, published in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, public safety officers' proactivity declines when they perceive negative public scrutiny, even if they are deeply motivated to help people.

The study, " 'I Want to Serve but the Public Does Not Understand:' Prosocial Motivation, Image Discrepancies, and Proactivity in Public Safety," by McCombs Assistant Professor of Management Shefali V. Patil and R. David Lebel from the University of Pittsburgh, found that officers are less likely to proactively build relationships with community members and help solve their problems if they feel that the public does not understand the difficulties of their jobs.

Majority - Jobs - People - Job - People

"In the vast majority of jobs, it is really difficult for other people outside to understand your job, but people don't realize how much this misunderstanding can actually influence the behavior of police officers," Patil said.

The researchers asked 183 police officers across six agencies and 238 firefighters across eight stations in the...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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