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The material preconditions for engagement in the police: a case study of UK police culture and engagement in times of radical change

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

This work takes the model of a climate of organisational engagement provided by Kahn (1990) as the theoretical basis for renewed research within the context of UK policing. It is argued that the fiscal, structural and political environment of UK policing has changed to such an extent as to both render some aspects of classic police cultural commentary out-dated, but also create an environment in which material job resources, such as equipment and the allocation of officers, are of crucial importance to police officer psychology. It is argued that this emphasis on material job resources is a necessary development of Kahn’s (1990) original theory of the preconditions for engagement due to the context of the policing environment which exhibits instances of physical danger, distinct from Kahn’s (1990) original case setting. The application of a critical realist research
paradigm to a comparative study of employee engagement in two contrasting police forces produces a model that modifies Kahn’s (1990) psychological preconditions for engagement. To create the conditions in which officers can fully engage in their roles, policing organisations must provide a benchmark level of material job resources as a precursor to furnishing an environment in
which officers feel psychological safety, availability and meaningfulness. Without these benchmark material resources it is argued that officers cannot psychologically engage in their work. Collectively it is argued that both the material and psychological preconditions form the climate of engagement
that predicts in role personal engagement. In pursuit of study for a professional Doctorate in Business Administration the work then reflects upon this theoretical development in context, suggesting a number of HRM interventions which may be particularly applicable to achieving improved engagement within the organisational setting.
Original languageEnglish
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Award dateMay 2015
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