It is unknown whether stress-induced events precipitated by a working environment have been fundamental when it comes to determining job satisfaction for municipal police officers in small departments.
Are stress-induced events precipitated by a work environment related to job satisfaction for municipal police officers in small departments?
Law enforcement has repeatedly been ranked as one of the most stressful jobs in the world. A combination of stress, administration, and equipment issues all contribute to an individual’s job satisfaction within the police force. In addition, shift work and public support will play an important role when it comes to job satisfaction.
The hypothesis stated in this paper is threefold: first, the authors postulate that frequent shift changes or rotations will decrease overall job satisfaction. Second, high levels of stress will similarly decrease job satisfaction. Finally, low morale within a department will also decrease job satisfaction for police officers in small departments.
Looks at quantitative and qualitative analysis of different variables thought to contribute to stress.
Design: The authors utilized a questionnaire distributed among fourteen different municipal police departments in south-central Pennsylvania.
Qualitative/Quantitative Methods: This study employed quantitative methods for gauging job satisfaction in municipal police officers. The officers were handed questionnaires, and asked to rate their responses on either a five-point or six-point scale.
Study Variables: Age, gender, race, socioeconomic status, mental health, job title, time on the force, department, educational background, and number of dependents were all variable.
Operationalization: Operationalization was not discussed in detail, but the authors do mention that the questionnaire included definitions and removed the neutral option to ensure that respondents made a judgment call regarding each of the questions posed.
Data Collection: Data was collected via questionnaire with implied consent form, which guaranteed anonymity. The questionnaire was distributed to forces in south-central Pennsylvania, and the authors guaranteed a $1.00 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation for every completed questionnaire received.
Measurement Validity and Reliability: Anonymity was guaranteed in the survey, but there are always questions about the reliability of self-reporting. However, respondents were given every opportunity to respond honestly without prejudice or ramifications.
Pre-testing: No discussion.
Missing Data: None discussed.
Data Analysis: Table 1 looks at the different job titles and the levels of satisfaction each experiences; Table 2 ranks job satisfaction in terms of stress levels, and Table 3 looks at overall job satisfaction in terms of morale within the force.
Authors find that patrol officers are most likely to score lower on job satisfaction measures. In addition, they find that there is a significant correlation between stress level and job satisfaction, although there is minimal difference between stress levels from job title to job title.
Conclusion and Implications:
There is an apparent connection between stress and overall job satisfaction.
- Guarantee anonymity
- Good selection/variety of individuals interviewed
- Good control of outside variables (geographic location, etc)
- Well-stated procedure
- Clear use of statistics and calculations
- Well-organized literature review
- Potential bias due to self-reporting
- No data on excluded questionnaires
- No data on questions asked on questionnaire
- Findings section is poorly written, and should be re-worked and clarified
- No expansion outside Pennsylvania; potential issues with extrapolating findings
- No information regarding pay and the amount of dissatisfaction employees feel due to poor pay
Accept with minor revisions, including:
- More information regarding questionnaire
- Clarification of Tables in Findings section-- better explanation
- Include brief description of what constitutes a “small police force.”