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Measurement and Association in the Structure of Municipal Police Organizations

NCJ Number
Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management Volume: 26 Issue: 2 Dated: 2003 Pages: 276-297
Jeremy M. Wilson
Robert H. Langworthy
Date Published
22 pages
This study focused specifically on the measurement of police structures through the exploration of whether multiple measures of variables in different scales can be used to derive interval-level estimates of structural complexity and control and whether there is any statistical relationship between structural complexity and control.
Over the last few decades, the structure of United States police organizations has received much attention. However, few studies have focused specifically on the measurement of police structures. There is the need to examine the relationship between complexity and control, to illustrate whether complexity has an indirect impact on good measures and understanding of police organizational structure. This study investigated whether various structural elements were indicative of two latent constructs by developing and testing measurement models representing structural complexity and control. Two primary sources were used to gather data to measure complexity and control and test their association: (1) the 1997 Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS) (U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1999) and (2) a survey conducted by Maguire (1997a). The data sources provided information on four types of structural complexity: spatial, occupational, hierarchical, and functional differentiation. The research suggests that structural complexity is not a unidimensional construct, but a single factor does appear to explain the various measures of structural control. The study provides evidence supporting an association between some forms of structural complexity and formal mechanisms of control within large, municipal police organizations in the United States. In addition, it was shown that representations of some organizational constructs could be formed from multiple measures. References