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Article
Publication date: 30 June 2022

Sung Uook Lee, Joseph Hamm and Yoon Ho Lee

The majority of legitimacy research has been conducted in low-power distance societies such as America, England, Australia, etc. We test the relative impact of normative…

Abstract

Purpose

The majority of legitimacy research has been conducted in low-power distance societies such as America, England, Australia, etc. We test the relative impact of normative and instrumental judgments on police legitimacy in a high-power distance society. It is hypothesized that in this context, individuals in high-power distance societies, such as South Korea, will put a larger emphasis on the instrumental model of legitimacy and less on the relational model of legitimacy.

Design/methodology/approach

This study examines the pathways to police legitimacy and cooperation. Using a convenience sample of Korean college students, the impact of instrumental and normative pathways on the perception of police legitimacy is examined. Based on Hofstede's (2001) power-distance theory, we hypothesize that South Koreans, with relatively high-power distance, should emphasize the instrumental pathway of police legitimacy more compared to the normative pathway of police legitimacy.

Findings

The results indicated that opposite to what we have hypothesized, South Korean college students still emphasized the normative pathways to police legitimacy more importantly. While procedural justice significantly predicted both trustworthiness and obligation to obey the police, police effectiveness only significantly predicted trustworthiness and failed to predict obligation to obey.

Originality/value

The majority of police legitimacy research has been conducted in the Western context. A small amount of research focusing on non-Western settings has been conducted, but still requires more attention. The current research adds to the body of police legitimacy literature in the Korean context. Implications for future research and policy are discussed.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 45 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 16 October 2017

Wonhyuk Cho

This chapter analyzes how institutional pressures have allowed for continuities as well as brought about changes in modern police organizations in Korea. When facing a…

Abstract

This chapter analyzes how institutional pressures have allowed for continuities as well as brought about changes in modern police organizations in Korea. When facing a legitimacy crisis, the Korean law enforcement system has typically responded with organizational restructuring. Strong myth-building patterns compensate for the lack of moral legitimacy of the police, particularly under authoritarian-military regimes that suppress democratization movements in Korea. Even after seemingly radical organizational changes aimed at placing the police under democratic control, highly institutionalized core structures of the police remain in place. Performance reform after the economic crisis, which was proceeded from reformers’ shared belief in the market-driven solutions, diagnosed the Korean police as a big, inefficient, and self-serving bureaucracy, a diagnosis that eventually caused gradual deterioration in the taken-for-grantedness of policing activities. The internet and social media made the Korean police even more vulnerable to external challenges and a questioning of its legitimacy.

Details

The Experience of Democracy and Bureaucracy in South Korea
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-471-2

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 10 June 2016

Ashley K. Farmer and Ivan Y. Sun

This chapter examines how citizen journalism affects perceptions of legitimacy among local residents and police officers.

Abstract

Purpose

This chapter examines how citizen journalism affects perceptions of legitimacy among local residents and police officers.

Methodology/approach

Qualitative data were collected through semi-structured in-depth interviews with residents and police officers.

Findings

Local residents are mostly willing to obey police commands, but a lack of trust in the police and fear of retaliation hinder willingness to cooperate with the police. Citizens’ willingness to follow police orders is mostly a way for them to end the encounter as quickly as possible so the contact will not extend for a prolonged period of time and cause even more serious consequences. Citizens have recorded the police in the past when they witnessed officers not following proper procedures. The police view citizens recording them as a form of defiance and while this makes policing challenging, police officers interviewed still hold high levels of self-legitimacy, most likely due to their organizational and occupational culture. Recording the police has emerged as a way for citizens to challenge police authority and legitimacy during encounters.

Originality/value

While recording the police has increased with recent technological advances, little empirical research has examined its impact on policing and police-community relations. This study connects three critical issues in policing – technology, citizen journalism, and police legitimacy – by assessing the impact of recording the police on police legitimacy in the eyes of the public and police officers. Not only does this study fill our gap in knowledge on citizens recording the police, but it also furnishes valuable implications for policy and future study.

Details

The Politics of Policing: Between Force and Legitimacy
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-030-5

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 4 July 2019

Amie M. Schuck

Crime has declined in the United States over the past 25 years; however, the decrease in victimization has not been equal across all communities. As a result, many law…

Abstract

Crime has declined in the United States over the past 25 years; however, the decrease in victimization has not been equal across all communities. As a result, many law enforcement agencies have concentrated their efforts in high-risk areas, and this concentration of policing can lead to resentment among members of the community, especially if they feel the officers are disrespectful, use excessive force, or disregard their civil rights. These residents are in double jeopardy – experiencing the negative consequences of living in dangerous communities and enduring the direct and indirect costs of aggressive policing. The purpose of this chapter is to discuss community policing as a potential means to increase police legitimacy, strengthen community resilience, and promote prosocial interactions between officers and residents. Community policing is a philosophy that advances organizational approaches designed to leverage citizen engagement and problem solving as proactive strategies to deal with public safety issues, including crime, disorder, and fear of crime. Because community policing is grounded in trust, cooperation, and problem solving, it has the potential to improve residents’ quality of life by developing and strengthening mechanisms of social control and support. Community policing can increase police legitimacy by providing opportunities for community members to examine the actions and policies of the police, assess the alignment of these state-sanctioned activities with residents’ values and needs, and bring the two into agreement. In this chapter the basic principles of community policing will be discussed within the context of how these concepts are related to the exercise of social control and residents’ perceptions of police legitimacy.

Details

Political Authority, Social Control and Public Policy
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-049-9

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 3 May 2022

Rok Hacin and Gorazd Meško

In recent years, several studies on self-legitimacy of police officers were conducted; however, few have tested the unstable nature of legitimacy in different time…

Abstract

Purpose

In recent years, several studies on self-legitimacy of police officers were conducted; however, few have tested the unstable nature of legitimacy in different time periods. This paper aims to focus on the self-legitimacy of police officers and its impact on pro-organizational behavior in 2013 and 2016.

Design/methodology/approach

The study took place in eight regional police directorates in Slovenia. The number of participants amounted to 529 police officers in 2013 and 478 police officers in 2016 that have completed a paper and pencil survey that was pretested using a convenience sample of police officers studying as part-time undergraduate students.

Findings

Overall findings revealed organizational commitment as the strongest predictor of self-legitimacy of police officers in Slovenia. The invariance of the “core variables” and their influence on the self-legitimacy of police officers in different time periods was confirmed. Their perception of individual legitimacy, organizational commitment, education and years of service influenced pro-organizational behaviors of police officers.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations of the study can be seen in the sincerity of participating police officers and the nature of self-legitimacy, which operates differently in different societies.

Practical implications

The results could be used for the improvement of policing in a young democratic country.

Social implications

Legitimacy, procedural justice and other components of policing in a democratic society need to be tested globally, especially in young democracies. This study is an example of an ongoing, follow-up endeavor of researchers and the national police to reflect upon the development of policing.

Originality/value

The paper has confirmed the invariance of relations with colleagues, supervisors' procedural justice and audience legitimacy on the self-legitimacy in different time periods and societies.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 45 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 15 June 2021

Fei-Lin Chen, Ivan Sun, Yuning Wu and Shun-Yung Kevin Wang

This paper aims to assess whether internal procedural justice is directly and indirectly through self-legitimacy connected to external procedural justice among Taiwanese…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to assess whether internal procedural justice is directly and indirectly through self-legitimacy connected to external procedural justice among Taiwanese police officers.

Design/methodology/approach

Survey data used in this study were collected from 316 Taiwanese police officers in 2019. Structural equation modeling was performed to examine the direct and indirect relationships between internal and external procedural justice.

Findings

Supervisors' internal procedural justice is directly related to the external procedural justice rendered to the public by police officers. Internal procedural justice also directly enhances officers' perceptions of internal legitimacy and external legitimacy. Greater senses of internal legitimacy are then accompanied by higher external procedural justice.

Research limitations/implications

Survey data collected from a non-random sample of officers limit the study findings' generalizability. Organizational justice in the form of supervisory justice is instrumental in promoting officers' perception of self-legitimacy and their delivery of fair treatment to the public.

Originality/value

The present study represents a first attempt to link two important veins of studies in recent policing literature, organizational justice and officer self-legitimacy. This study provides needed evidence to support the value of supervisory justice in policing in a non-Western democracy.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 44 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 29 July 2021

Viviane de Oliveira Cubas, Frederico Castelo Branco, André Rodrigues de Oliveira and Fernanda Novaes Cruz

The authors examine predictors of self-legitimacy for police officers belonging to the Military Police force of São Paulo (Brazil). Considering the variables mobilized by…

Abstract

Purpose

The authors examine predictors of self-legitimacy for police officers belonging to the Military Police force of São Paulo (Brazil). Considering the variables mobilized by the literature on self-legitimacy, the authors seek to identify what explains the self-legitimacy of militarized police officers.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey was applied to 298 frontline police officers in the city of São Paulo, analyzing indicators separated into two groups: relationship dimension and organizational dimension. An ordinary least square model is used to test the “relationship” and “organizational” variables on police officers' self-legitimacy.

Findings

Effectiveness is the strongest predictor for self-legitimacy. Organizational justice and distributive justice also present important effects, as the perception of citizens' attitudes toward police reinforces the conception of self-legitimacy as a dialogical construct, comprising here the public's expectations of police work as well as the police officers' perceptions that they are respected and considered important by the public.

Originality/value

There are no other studies on self-legitimacy related to Brazilian police officers or exploring these aspects among police officers submitted to a militarized structure. These results contribute to the ongoing debate on the militarization of police activities and their possible effects on police legitimacy.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 44 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 9 April 2018

Justin Nix and Scott E. Wolfe

The purpose of this paper is to examine the factors associated with management-level officers’ sensitivity to various manifestations of the “Ferguson effect.”

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the factors associated with management-level officers’ sensitivity to various manifestations of the “Ferguson effect.”

Design/methodology/approach

A survey was administered to police officers attending an advanced training institute in the Southeastern USA in the fall of 2015. Specifically, a series of items first inquired about negative attitudes attributable to deadly force incidents throughout the country, followed by items tapping into theoretically relevant concepts including self-legitimacy, audience legitimacy, and peer attachment.

Findings

Findings suggest that like line-level officers, police managers may also harbor various attitudes attributable to a Ferguson effect – including less willingness to be proactive, reduced motivation, less job enjoyment, and a belief that crime will ultimately rise as officers “de-police.” However, officers who believe their communities afford legitimacy to the police were less likely to report these sentiments. Study limitations and avenues for future research are also discussed.

Originality/value

This is the first study to consider how police managers have been impacted by highly publicized deadly force incidents in recent years. It underscores the importance of maintaining legitimacy in the public eye, particularly in the post-Ferguson era of American policing.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 41 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 23 November 2020

Arabella Kyprianides, Julia A. Yesberg, Jenna Milani, Ben Bradford, Paul Quinton and Oliver Clark–Darby

The range of tactical force options available to police is increasing, while public debate about police use of force is never far from the headlines. This paper aims to…

1031

Abstract

Purpose

The range of tactical force options available to police is increasing, while public debate about police use of force is never far from the headlines. This paper aims to examine what factors shape how people accept police use of force.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors use two online experiments to test whether different force options affected judgments about the acceptability of police action and to explore the role of trust and legitimacy in people's judgments.

Findings

The authors found across both studies that respondents judged scenarios involving a weapon (baton, CS spray, Taser) as less acceptable compared to scenarios that did not (talking down, handcuffs), but they did not draw much distinction between the specific weapon used. In study 1, exposure to different police tactics had no effect on trust and legitimacy. In study 2, prior perceptions of trust were strong predictors of acceptability judgments.

Originality/value

There is a comparative paucity of British-based empirical research examining public attitudes toward different use of force resolutions by police. In this paper, the authors explore how use of force affects people's views of police at a time in which the nature and scope of force applications, how these are understood and indeed the basic enterprise of policing itself is being reconsidered and renegotiated.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 44 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 22 August 2020

Jasmine R. Silver

This study extends legitimacy theory by examining individualizing and binding moral motives and perceptions of police.

Abstract

Purpose

This study extends legitimacy theory by examining individualizing and binding moral motives and perceptions of police.

Design/methodology/approach

Data are drawn from an online survey of the public (N = 961). OLS regression is used to predict global perceptions of legitimacy, as well as department legitimacy and acceptance of force in an experimental vignette that manipulates procedural justice.

Findings

The binding moral motive is associated with greater global and department legitimacy and acceptance of force. The individualizing moral motive is associated with reduced global legitimacy and acceptance of force, and with department legitimacy when procedural justice is low. Perceptions of legitimacy mediate the effects of the binding moral motive on acceptance of force and of the individualizing moral motive when procedural justice is low.

Research limitations/implications

This study identifies novel antecedents of police legitimacy and acceptance of force (i.e. binding and individualizing moral motives).

Social implications

This study provides insight into public attitudes regarding use of force.

Originality/value

This study is the first to propose and test a link between binding and individualizing moral motives and perceptions of police.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 43 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

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