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Organizational reform in a hierarchical frontline organization : Tracking changes in stress and turnover intention during the Finnish police reform years

Matti Vuorensyrjä (Department of Research, Development & Innovation, Police University College, Tampere, Finland)

Policing: An International Journal

ISSN: 1363-951X

Article publication date: 11 November 2014

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to track changes in organizational and occupational stress in the Finnish police force during the police reform years. It also estimates the effects of organizational stressors on labor turnover intention (LTI).

Design/methodology/approach

The study is based on six distinct cross-sectional Police Personnel Surveys from 1999 to 2012. The surveys are not sample based, but have targeted the entire police force with good response rates. The study employs hierarchical logit models to predict LTI.

Findings

Police agencies can be depicted as hierarchical frontline organizations. Major reforms in such agencies can be expected to give rise to increased organizational conflicts and stress. The empirical findings of the paper fall in line with the theory. Organizational stress and LTI have been increasing in the Finnish police force during the police reform years. However, at the same time, personal and occupational stressors have actually been reducing in the police force. Turnover intention was observed to be a positive function of those particular organizational stressors that have increased the most over the reform years.

Research limitations/implications

The data are cross-sectional. No direct causal conclusions can be drawn from the results of this study. A non-material violation of the linearity assumption was detected in two logit models.

Originality/value

Relying on Tops and Spelier's 2013 theory of police organizations as frontline organizations, the paper introduces a new theoretical construct – hierarchical frontline organization – and combines its theoretical ideas with comprehensive long-term data from the Finnish police force.

Keywords

Citation

Vuorensyrjä, M. (2014), "Organizational reform in a hierarchical frontline organization : Tracking changes in stress and turnover intention during the Finnish police reform years", Policing: An International Journal, Vol. 37 No. 4, pp. 858-874. https://doi.org/10.1108/PIJPSM-05-2014-0058

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited