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Dimensions of police culture: a study in Canada, India, and Japan

Ernest L. Nickels (Department of Public Justice, State University of New York, Owego, New York, USA)
Arvind Verma (Department of Criminal Justice, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, USA)

Policing: An International Journal

ISSN: 1363-951X

Article publication date: 30 May 2008




Some police research has used quantitative methods of typology construction in attitudinal data to explore the spatial structure of occupational culture, suggesting distinctions among officer‐types may be empirically useful. The purpose of this paper is to suggest scale construction as a complimentary approach, using original data collected from a multi‐national sample. Cultural structure is examined here in terms of the spatial relationship among variables rather than respondents. Cultural homogeneity is understood principally as the relative congruence of attitudinal constructs across national groups. Where common constructive dimensions are evident, meaningful analysis of attitudinal valence is then possible.


Data‐measuring attitudes in several facets of occupational outlook were collected from police in Canada, India, and Japan. Factor analysis was used to identify latent structures among question items in 11 inventories in the aggregate set and then again in each national sample. Factor solutions were then compared for congruence across the three nations and against the aggregate result. Scores from congruent factors were analyzed using ANCOVA.


The findings suggest an appreciable universality to factor structures in the inventories and samples examined here. Congruence across attitudinal constructs appears to break down in those aspects of occupational outlook that are most personal and most impersonal to the officer.


The paper offers a complimentary approach to existing quantitative methods in probing sameness and difference in police culture by focusing upon the constructive meanings of attitudinal measurements as expressive of the conceptual dimensionality of attitudinal space.



Nickels, E.L. and Verma, A. (2008), "Dimensions of police culture: a study in Canada, India, and Japan", Policing: An International Journal, Vol. 31 No. 2, pp. 186-209.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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