Development of Corrupt Behaviors in Police Departments
Developmentof Corrupt Behaviors in Police Departments NameInstitutionalAffiliation:
Developmentof Corrupt Behaviors in Police Departments
Policedepartment is one of the areas with numerous ethical challenges dueto complexity and nature of work. The officers work under authorityand behave according to a set of rules and regulation. Althougheverybody expects detectives to uphold high level of discipline andintegrity, this has not been the case. The work environment has itsunique challenges that expose officers to issues of compromise, whichculminates to rising cases of corruption in the police department. Inthis case, adherence to ethical standards in the police departmenthas been a major topic in the public discourse for a long time.Despite efforts dispensed by responsible institutions to improveethical performance of the police, the department is yet to win themuch-needed public confidence. In the Trautnam corruption continuum,corruption in organizations is a product of numerous events, whichtake place in phases. The corruption evident in police department isa result of escalation of integrity issues over the years. Compromiseof standard of behavior in one instance opens the loopholes, whichtaints the reputation of the institution. Trautnam corruptioncontinuum offers detailed information on phases through which theorganization becomes corrupt. It also describes how theorganizational incentives influence corruption among individuals. Inaddition, Bendura discusses how co-workers influence the behavior ofcolleagues, which becomes the basis of culture in the workplace. Inother words, an individual can become corrupt due to consistentbehavior of co-workers during interaction. The compromise of ethicalstandards has become the key factor behind lack of integrity in thepolice department. All these elements put together forms the basis ofthis report, which provide the background of corruption issues amongindividual police officers and the department at large.How Organizations BecomeCorrupt Per Trautman ContinuumOrganizationsbecome corrupt because of ignorance of scandals or failure, on thepart of leaders, to act on employees’ misconduct. There is noscandal that happens in the organization without issuing warningsignals. Leaders can choose to either respond to the warning signalor ignore it depending on the interest he has in the scandal(Trautman, 2000). Acting on the signal implies that leaders arewilling to prevent misconduct among employees. Failure to act simplyimplies that the leader has a stake in the underlying issue, anelement that compromises ethical standard in the organization. Insome cases, leaders ignore the warning signal because they considerit as not significant to the operations of the institution. In thisregard, Trautnam (2000) indicates that corruption is an element thatleaders have the capacity to predict and prevent. Corruption in theorganization is the depiction of the leadership failure andcompromise of work ethics.Thefirst phase which exposes the organization to corruption is theleaders’ indifference to ethics and integrity. In mostinstitutions, employees do not undergo training on issues of workethics and integrity. Senior management does not see the training asimportant, since they are not committed enough to maintain ethicalstandards in the work environment. The indifference towards theorganizational ethics opens the door for future misconduct amongemployees (Trautman, 2000). Issues such as incompetent recruitmentprocedure, perception of unfair means of promotion, anddiscontentment among officers are aspects of indifference tointegrity, which leaders initiate and tolerate hence exposing theorganization to future cases of misconduct (Fallik & Novak,2014). These elements contribute to ineffectiveness and low moraleamong employees, which become the basis for misconduct and corruptionin the institution.Negligenceof obvious problems related to ethics is the second phase of howorganizations become corrupt. At this point, leaders do not showinterest in integrity issues hence do not allocate sufficientresources in enhancing compliance to ethical standards. Leaders maynot be necessarily involved in corruption cases but still promote itby failing to devote adequate resources to maintain ethical standardin the organization (Trautman, 2000). Again, other leaders may ignoreacts of indiscipline and corruption by employees despite theseriousness of these acts. In other instances, leaders may cover upthe misconduct of employees instead of addressing the problem. Whenthese elements exist among leaders, the vulnerability to corruptionincreases. Hypocrisy among leaders and fear factor in theorganizational culture comes because of negligence of commonchallenges. Overall, the organization adopts the culture of ‘survivalfor the fittest’ where employees do whatever possible act tothrive. The culmination of these aspects leads to high level ofcorruption in the organization. Theoreticalsubstructures for motivation or engagement, for instance, COMPSTAT,provide that lack of appropriate compensation for acting ethicallydiminishes a person’s inclination to pursue valuable and moralprinciples. Individuals employ more determination toward specificactions if they anticipate that the organization will reward suchactions. However, these incentives make it easy for officers toengage in unethical actions since they know that the organizationwill reward them for work that extends beyond their job description.When companies introduce reward systems, departments becomecomplacent in sharing responsibility, as they depend on thestructures to engage and incentivize officers. Influence of Co-Workers onIndividual BehaviorCo-workershave significant influence on the behavior of the individualemployee. The new employee tends to learn from colleagues, an elementthat shapes and determines the organizational culture (Bandura,1991). Essentially, employees integrate their new colleague into theorganizational culture. New employee observes the behavior of othersand slowly gets into the system. To fit in the system, he/she opts toadopt the dominant culture in the new environment. This aspect iscommon in environments like the police department where the newofficers learn the art of doing things through their colleagues.Culture of corruption spread through such aspect where co-workersinitiate employees by influencing their behavior.Continuum of Compromise andSelf RegulationContinuumof compromise is the concept that explains how the police officerbecomes corrupt because of being loyal to the existing system. Theconcept describes the process of transition of police officers wherethey stop being honest to the point of engaging in misconduct (Fallik& Novak, 2014). Majority of police officers seek favors fromtheir supervisors through loyalty, an element that pushes them todoing things that would please their seniors. If the senior iscorrupt, the junior police officer ends up being corrupt to pleasethe supervisor. Sudden change of behavior is a warning sign for thistransition, which the supervisor may use to detect aspect ofcompromise.Bandura’s Definition ofSelf-RegulationSelf-regulationis the aspect of determining one’s own behavior, which aims atrealizing personal goals (Bandura, 1991). Self regulation may not bepossible to law enforcement jobs where loyalty to the existing systemmatters. Individuals do not exercise freedom of thought and behaviorbut receive orders and act according to cultural norms of theenvironment. Bandura (1991) posits that the concept depends on thetheory of self-efficacy, which impacts the magnitude of goalchallenge that individuals set. This means that it is easy for apeople to alter their behavior according to the diverse situationspresented. As such, officers usually manage to adapt depending on theexternal factors as well as their level of commitment. However, inscenarios where the police department has restricted the degree ofindividual thinking, it becomes difficult for them to regulateeffectively. ConclusionPoliceact through tenets of morals that define their handling of events.This means that regardless of the situation, they should conductthemselves through the “code of ethics” provided by theirrespective department. Corruption in the police department is theresult of combination of factors, which exposes officers to integrityissues. Leaders are purely responsible for the growing corruption inthe institution. They fail to respond to issues of misconduct amongpolice officers, hence paving way to lack of ethical behavior andintegrity. Police officers influence the behavior of theircolleagues, especially those who join the service for the first time.The new officer adapts to the environment by adopting the commonbehavior hence the transition from honest police officer to thecorrupt officer. The strict rules and adherence to the tradition ofcorruption makes it difficult for officers to exerciseself-regulation. In this regard, the police department becomes acorrupt institution.References
Bandura,A. (1991). Social cognitive theory of self-regulation. OrganizationalBehavior and Human Decision Processes,50(2),248-287.
Fallik,S. W., & Novak, K. J. (2014). Biased policing. In Encyclopediaof Criminology and Criminal Justice(pp. 154-162). Springer New York.
Trautman,N. (2000). The corruption continuum: How law enforcementorganizations become corrupt. Journalof Public Management,82(6), 16-20.
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