Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Banovetz, James M.||Sherbenou, Edgar

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Political Science




This thesis is a study of the dynamics of change in police organizations and the factors which inhibit police reorganization. Recognizing that many segments of American society are demanding reforms in police organizations, this study attempts to identify those factors which constrain change in police departments. These constraints are classified as behavioral, legal, political and structural. To examine the influence of these constraints upon police reorganization ten case studies of actual police reorganizations, drawn from two comparable communities, are evaluated. The case studies are tested against a number of hypotheses presented in the thesis. The hypotheses are as follows: 1. Police organizations exhibit a low receptivity to change and reorganization. 2. Resistance to organizational change by policemen themselves constitutes a significant behavioral constraint on the reorganization of police departments. 3. Legal, political, and structural constraints serve to reinforce membership resistance to change and thus tend to support an inherent reaction against police reorganization. Each case study presented in the thesis is analyzed to determine the existence of one or more constraints, the level of operational utility of existing constraints, the relative influence of constraints, and the frequency of constraint appearance. Data for all constraints is correlated to determine the relationship between the degree of influence and frequency of constraints for all cases. In addition, the data is evaluated to determine the relative influence of constraints in terms of consistency between the two police organizations studied. The data is found to support the hypotheses. The significant findings are as follows: 1. There is a high correlation between the relative influence and frequency of appearance of a constraint. 2. Membership resistance to change is the primary behavioral constraint. This constraint is consistently the most influential barrier to change in both organizations studied. 3. Legal, political, and structural constraints are not consistent in influence between organizations, but do serve to reinforce stronger and more uniform behavioral constraints. 4. Within each organization, certain constraints are consistently more influential than other constraints. The study concludes that internal constraints upon police reorganization do, in fact, exist and function in the manner hypothesized. It is further suggested that identification and control of operative constraints is essential if police organizations are to adequately serve the needs of contemporary society.


Includes bibliographical references.


vi, 134 pages




Northern Illinois University

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