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Work-Related Consequences of Influence, Respect, and Solidarity in Two Law Enforcement Agencies

NCJ Number
SOCIOLOGY OF WORK AND OCCUPATIONS Volume: 4 Issue: 4 Dated: (November 1977) Pages: 451-478
J Miller; L J Fry
Date Published
28 pages
Individuals from law enforcement agencies whose evaluations of coworkers are favorable and who see the organization as equitable will respond more favorably to their work in subjective ways than those with differing viewpoints.
The members of two law enforcement agencies (78 from a police department and 159 from a sheriff's office) participated in an organizational survey that linked perceptions of social exchange processes to subjective evaluations of work. The study asked how job satisfaction and work strain were influenced by individuals' reports of the amount of professional respect and confidence they felt were earned by their coworkers. Discrepancies were sought among the different dimensions of social exchange, particularly discrepancies between the influence the members of a given rank were thought to have and the respect and confidence they were seen as having earned. Finally, individuals' perceptions of the members of their own rank in terms of respect, solidarity, and influence were analyzed. It was found that members' evaluations of the distributions of influence, respect, and solidarity, all measured by a modified control graph technique, leave definite traces in measures of job satisfaction and work strain. However, predictions about how these relationships would differ between ranks and organizations were not always confirmed. The indication was that evaluations of the higher ranks were more salient than evaluations of the lower ranks, with an exception being the dimension of influence over general department policy. In this case, the perceptions the subjects had of the lower ranks were more closely linked to their subjective work evaluations than their perceptions of the higher ranks. The perceptions of equity in the system did have consequences for feelings of satisfaction and strain, but the discrepancies involving the top ranks were not necessarily the most important ones. Because organizations as social enterprises function to provide involvement for their members, it is vital to measure success in this regard. Notes and 31 references are provided.


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