BODY-WORN CAMERAS AND ORGANIZATIONAL STRESS IN CANADIAN POLICING: A QUALITATIVE STUDY

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BODY-WORN CAMERAS AND ORGANIZATIONAL STRESS IN CANADIAN POLICING: A QUALITATIVE STUDY, Is A Well-Researched Topic, It Is To Be Used As A Guide Or Framework For Your Research.

Abstract

Body-worn camera (BWC) technology has gained traction in North American police services as a tool to enhance police transparency and accountability. To date, the research available on BWCs has focused on the impact BWCs have on police services, investigations, officer and citizen behaviour, and, police officers’ and community members’ attitudes towards BWCs (Lum et al., 2019). The vast majority of this existing research has been quantitative in nature and has been conducted in the United States, where police practices and policies differ from those in Canada. While there have been a number of pilot projects and research evaluations conducted on BWCs in Canada, there is still a great deal we do not know. Absent from much of the literature on BWCs is the impact the technology has on officers’ organizational stress and well-being. This is surprising considering that policing is identified as one of the most stressful occupations (Noblet et al., 2009). The present study seeks to address this gap in knowledge by conducting a qualitative analysis of a mid-size Canadian police service’s adoption and implementation of a BWC one-year pilot project. Through interviews with fifteen patrol officers, I examine how patrol officers’ ‘technological frames’ (Orlikowski and Gash, 1994) shape how officers have come to make sense of and use BWCs in their everyday practices. I argue that officers make sense of and use BWCs in line with traditional frontline policing technological frames. While most officers perceive positive outcomes of the technology for evidence and investigative purposes, they also perceive the technology to diminish their autonomy and negatively impact the ‘craft’ of policing. Further, drawing on organizational justice theory, with specific attention to the theoretical constructs of distributive justice, procedural justice and interactional justice, I explore how officers’ perceptions of BWCs may impact their overall stress and well-being. Specifically, I argue that BWCs can create stress for officers when they perceive BWCs as a form of injustice through the outcomes of BWCs (distributive justice), the protocols governing BWCs (procedural justice) and how they, as officers, are being treated by their service (interactional justice).

Table of Contents

Abstract ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… i
Acknowledgements ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. iii
Chapter One: Introduction……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 1
Thesis Outline ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 5
Chapter Two: Literature Review ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 7
History of BWC Technology ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 7
Body-Worn Camera Research ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 8
Officers’ Perceptions of the Technology ……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 8
BWCs and Police Organizations ………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 10
Effects of BWCs on Police Organizations in Canadian Research ……………………………………………………………… 10
Officer Perceptions of BWCs in Canadian Research ………………………………………………………………………………. 11
Stress Literature …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 12
Operationalization of the Concept of Stress in Policing …………………………………………………………………………. 12
General Overview of Stressors in Policing ……………………………………………………………………………………………. 13
Connections to BWCs as a Stressor in Policing……………………………………………………………………………………… 14
Leiter and Maslach’s Areas of Work Life ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 15
Chapter Three: Theoretical Framework …………………………………………………………………………………………….. 17
Organizational Justice Theory ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 17
Foundations of Organizational Justice Theory ………………………………………………………………………………………….. 17
Distributive Justice……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 18
Procedural Justice …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 18
Interactional Justice ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 20
Organizational Justice and Stress within Policing ……………………………………………………………………………………… 21
Conclusion …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 21
Chapter Four: Research Methodology ………………………………………………………………………………………………. 23
Constructivist Grounded Theory …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 23
Study Design and Procedure ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 24
Figure 1: Officer Demographics ………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 26
Interview process …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 26
Initial Coding ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 28
Focused Coding and Analytic Memo-writing ……………………………………………………………………………………………. 28
Axial Coding …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 29
Concept Mapping …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 29
Chapter Five: Body-Worn Cameras Through Officers’ Technological Frames …………………………………………….. 30
Introduction …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 30
Nature of Technology: Evidential Value, Protection and Functionality ……………………………………………………… 31
Evidential and Investigative Value………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 31
BWCs and Protection ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 34
Functionality of BWCs ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 35
Technology Strategy: Unclear Directives, Risk Management and Organizational Surveillance …………………….. 36
Institutional Risk Management ………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 36
Organizational Surveillance ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 37
Perceptions of Unclear Directive and Policy during Implementation ………………………………………………………. 38

Technology in Practice and the Consequences of its Use: Administrative Burden, Loss of Discretion and Work Morale ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 40
Administrative Burden………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 41
Police Discretion and Autonomy ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 43
Work Relationships and Morale …………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 46
Discussion ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 48
Chapter Six: BWCs and Organizational Justice ……………………………………………………………………………………. 52
Introduction …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 52
Organizational Justice and Organizational Stress ……………………………………………………………………………………… 52
Distributive Justice ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 54
BWCs Impact on work-to-reward ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 55
Stress Through Unfair Allocation of Agency Resources …………………………………………………………………………. 56
Procedural Justice ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 58
Absence of Voice in Technology Adoption and Implementation …………………………………………………………….. 58
Inconsistency with Organizational Directives ………………………………………………………………………………………. 60
Interactional Justice ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 62
Officer Distrust in Police Service ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 62
Unfair Discipline……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 64
Discussion ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 65
Chapter Seven: Discussion ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 68
Summary of Findings …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 69
Technological Frames and Body-Worn Cameras ………………………………………………………………………………………. 70
Organizational Justice & Body-Worn Cameras …………………………………………………………………………………………. 71
Research Limitations and Future Directions …………………………………………………………………………………………….. 72
Appendix ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 73
Operationalized Code Chart ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 73
Preliminary Concept Maps ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 77
Interview Consent Form ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 78
Thank You Letter………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 79
BWC – Interview Guide ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 81
References ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 86

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Additional information

Author

Chelsea Doiron

No of Chapters

7

No of Pages

103

Reference

YES

Format

PDF

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