(2014), "Turnover, voluntary turnover, and organizational performance: evidence from municipal police departments", Policing: An International Journal, Vol. 37 No. 1. https://doi.org/10.1108/PIJPSM-01-2014-0006Download as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Turnover, voluntary turnover, and organizational performance: evidence from municipal police departments
Article Type: Perspectives on policing From: Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, Volume 37, Issue 1.
Public Administration Quarterly
This study examined the impact sworn officer turnover had on crime control performance in municipal police departments. Past research has focussed on the reasons for as well as to develop efforts to reduce employee turnover within the agency. Very little research has examined the impact that turnover has on the effectiveness in goal attainment for the organization. The author in this study suggests that to assess this effect a distinction must be made between voluntary and involuntary turnover. Being initiated by the employee, voluntary turnover presents a challenge for administration as it is difficult to predict and prepare for. Involuntary turnover is in contrast to this as it normally starts from an administrative decision in response to some form of employee behavior or misbehavior. Thus, it is hypothesized that voluntary turnover has a negative effect on crime occurrence rates and has a more negative effect than involuntary turnover.
The data used in this study were gathered through three different sources. Sworn officer's turnover, number of sworn officers, and yearly operating budget for police departments were obtained from the Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS). A total of 464 municipalities with more than 50,000 residents were chosen for inclusion in this study representing every region in the USA. Information regarding the 2003 crime occurrence numbers were collected from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and socioeconomic data (poverty, education, etc.) was obtained from the US Census Bureau.
Using regression analyses, the authors found that sworn officer turnover had a significant and positive effect on crime occurrences. More specifically, violent and property crimes are more likely to occur when sworn officers leave the organization. When separating voluntary from involuntary turnover, voluntary separation was found to have a significant and positive effect on crime occurrences. In this case, involuntary turnover was found to have a negative effect on crime occurrences. Since poor performing employees are often the subject of involuntary dismissal, the overall performance of the agency is minimally affected in these instances.
Recruitment and retention are major challenges facing police agencies today. This study highlights the importance of ensuring that top performing employees are retained by the agency. Organizational efforts should be made to ensure that these individuals maintain satisfaction from their job duties in an attempt to keep them from leaving. The research also reinforces the notion that involuntary separation has very little impact on crime occurrences and can be used as a way to increase the effectiveness of the organization by removing poor performers from the agency.