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Technology Use and Constituting Structures: Accounting for the Consequences of Information Technology on Police Organizational Change

NCJ Number
Policing and Society Dated: 2018
Date Published
0 pages
This study used a theoretical model well-known in studies on organizations and information systems, but less familiar in criminal justice, in examining the consequences of information technology on police organizational change.

The influence of information technology on organizational change has long been a concern in policing. Despite the assumption that technology holds great potential for improving police performance, studies suggest that technology delivers mixed results. The structurational model of information technology used in this study helped explain the complex processes underlying the organizational effects of a new records management system (RMS) in a single police agency. Using interviews, focus groups, and an agency-wide survey, the study found that various designer and user groups interpreted and interacted with the RMS differently. Thus, the same type of information technology led to the development of different 'technologies-in-practice.' Despite the agency's concerted efforts to facilitate the RMS's acceptance, these differences between groups led to unintended consequences, including reinforcing the traditional divide between street cops and management cops. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2018