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Bureaucratic Crisis and Executive Leadership - Corruption in Police Departments

NCJ Number
J J McGlennon
Date Published
176 pages
Using the disclosure of corruption in police departments as an example, this dissertation investigates the nature of organizational crisis in public bureaucracy and the use of crisis as a tool for organizational reform.
The rigidity and defensiveness of bureaucratic organizations provide serious obstacles to those who advocate reform of public agencies. The ability of a bureaucracy to withstand demands for reform in the face of an organizational crisis is less certain. Recent police department scandals in the cities of Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Albany, and New York are analyzed to determine the impact of the crisis on the bureaucracy. The scandals demonstrate the potential for reform which is created when crisis occurs and illustrate the the preconditions necessary for advocates of reform to take advantage of the disruption of normal operating routines. This analysis demonstrates the similarity of corrupt activities in all four cities, but finds differences in the organization of the corruption, the responses of the police and other public officials to the charges, and the resolution of the crisis. The mayor emerges as the crucial actor in the crisis and largely determines the success or failure of those forces advocating reform, particularly through his ability to guide public opinion. Similarities and differences in the crises are illustrated in tables. Related literature is reviewed, and footnotes and 35 references are included.