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The multi-dimensional environment of publicly funded U.S. crime laboratories and its impact on lab priorities

NCJ Number
Journal of Crime & Justice Volume: 43 Issue: 3 Dated: 2020 Pages: 362-376
Date Published
15 pages

Using a national census and a survey of laboratory directors, this study assessed crime lab directors’ awareness of their institutional environments. 


Institutional theory of organizations has been increasingly applied to U.S. police organizations; however, there is a dearth of literature that applies institutional theory to publicly funded U.S. crime laboratories. The current study found that lab directors perceived a multi-dimensional institutional environment surrounding their labs, and they attributed varying levels of importance to sovereigns within their institutional environments. Lab directors also identified a multi-dimensional, organizational priority structure. Further analysis indicates that directors’ perceptions of their environments significantly impacted organizational priorities, findings that support institutional theory. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2020