:About the Project:
Jennifer Earl has been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation (#SES-1426741) for her project "Police Professionalism and Changes in Police Protocols." This $269,775 grant will fund an examination of how model protest policing practices changed from 1960 to 1980 in hopes of speaking to both work on repression and research on organization innovotion and change. Prior research has examined organizational change in policing protocols when police are confronted with public protests. That research has found that police forces rapidly moved from endorsing a model for protest policing that relied on force to stop protests (referred to as "escalated force") to a new model that was based on de-escalating conflict through negotiation (referred to as "negotiated management"). However, existing work does not adequately: (1) explain how this new alternative developed, (2) examine whether other alternative models developed and competed for adherents; (3) analyze how factors internal to policing, such as police professionalism, affected this process of selection and change; and (4) problematize how organizations are affected by legal mandates. These are critical oversights because major organizational theories have long been able to explain the diffusion of new policies but have not been able to explain where those new policies come from.
This project draws on work from science and technology studies to develop a new perspective on how alternative innovations are created and compete for implementation. Specific hypotheses anticipate: multiple competing alternatives; that alternatives that were consistent with specific elements of police professionalism were more successful competitors; and that the courts did not directly dictate how police forces changed. Data are drawn from quantitative and qualitative content coding of historical police journals and other documents. Analyses map alternatives and their characteristics and track the prevalence of themes identified by the qualitative coding. Findings will advance scholastic understanding of how policing changes over time and how organizations innovate and change. Broader impacts include public distribution of research findings through radio and other media, undergraduate and graduate student training, and scientific gains in understanding organizational change.
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