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Examining the Career Plateau: Some Preliminary Findings

NCJ Number
Canadian Police College Journal Volume: 13 Issue: 2 Dated: (1989) Pages: 77-86
R J Burke
Date Published
10 pages
This study examined the effects of becoming plateaued in one's career by comparing long-service (more than 15 years) police officers who had and had not been promoted.
The data was gathered from anonymous questionnaires, completed by 64 career-plateaued constables and 122 other officers attending work-related courses at the Ontario Police College. Responses were measured against four career orientations -- self-investors, social activists, careerists, and artisans -- and eight work setting characteristics found to be precursors of negative attitude changes constituting burnout -- orientation, workload, stimulation, scope of client contacts, institutional goals, autonomy, leadership/supervision, and social isolation. Responses were also scored against other indicators of stress, negative attitude changes, job-related attitudes, individual well-being, and impact of job demands on personal and family life. The results indicated there were no significant differences between the two groups of police officers on their initial career orientations; however, in terms of current career orientations, more plateaued officers were self-investors and fewer were careerists. In general, plateaued officers reported a more negative work setting, greater stress, and less participation in decision-making than their counterparts. This group also indicated more work alienation, less commitment to policing as a career, and greater work-family conflict. 1 table, 21 references.