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The relationship between organisational justice and police officer attitudes toward misconduct

NCJ Number
Policing & Society Volume: 31 Issue: 9 Dated: 2021
Date Published

Using survey data from 15,807 police officers from 101 agencies, this study tested whether (a) organizational justice impacted officers’ attitudinal support for misconduct, (b) organizational commitment was the mechanism that mediated the relationship, and (c) elements of command-and-control enhanced or detracted from the power of organizational justice to reduce attitudinal support for misconduct.



To address police misconduct, law enforcement agencies traditionally have used deterrence-based methods–in the form of ‘external controls’, which monitor and punish unacceptable behavior. Some scholars, however, claim that ‘internal controls’ are more effective for addressing workplace misconduct and these controls are produced when employees perceive a greater degree of organizational justice within their agencies. Results of the current study suggest that organizational justice has both a direct and indirect (through organizational commitment) effect on officers’ assessments of misconduct and that elements of command-and-control can enhance the power of organizational justice to reduce attitudinal support for misconduct among police officers. (Publisher Abstract)

Date Published: January 1, 2021