[Get Answer ]-Review The Officer Robert Barton Case Study In Ch 12 Of Organizational Behavior

Question Description

Officer Bartonjoined a big city police department six years ago. He

was a highschool graduate from a middle-class family in a small

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town. Hisparents spoke French, English, and Spanish, and he was

fluent in allthree languages. His first six months in the department

(after theacademy) was an eye-opener and somewhat of a

cultural shock.At first he was lost, and he had some difficulty in

adjusting tothe lifestyles of a big city. It soon became apparent

that the policehad bonds of loyalty and secrecy and that there

was a generalfeeling of “us against them.” He found that he was

part of a subculturethat demanded a high level of esprit de

corps andsolidarity. It was soon apparent that the officers he

worked withviewed themselves as the “thin blue line.” His fellow

officers thatwere in his academy class came from varying

backgrounds,and most of them had lived in metropolitan areas all

of their lives.They shared diverse values, attitudes,and

perspectives.Slowly but surely the officers felt the need to belong

and assimilatedthe new subculture,and in relatively short

time, theybecame comfortable interacting with one another. They

became a sourceof mutual support to each other.

Robert Barton,like most of his peers, started out slowly

and wassomewhat overawed by the total process, but in time he

began to think,act, and feel like a cop. He wanted to be a good

cop. His goalswere to preserve the peace and to protect people

and societyfrom criminals. Barton placed a relatively high value

on individualrights and due process of law. He really wanted to

protect andserve, but with the reality of the street and the social

status that hesought, within the group, he quickly accepted the

normsand values of his peers and of his field training officers

(FTO). Bartonwas a good candidate for the socialization process

and quicklylearned the importance of going along with the flow.

The taboos werereadily apparent such as failure to back up an

officer who isin danger and above all exhibit bravery in the face

of danger orsuffer the consequences and be ostracized by the

group. Bartonalso learned that his immediate sergeant would be

the mostimportant in his life while working. This proved to be

especially trueduring the two-year probationary period.

After threeyears in the patrol division, Officer Barton was

reassigned. Hewas placed in a Joint Gang Task Force, which consisted

of 26investigators and 1 supervisor from 6 jurisdictions

who formed atightly knit work group. This was a group that was

just organized,and he wanted to become a full-fledged member

of the group.

It consisted ofa homogeneous and cohesive group of

bilingual peoplewho identified with each other and shared a unique

set of values,attitudes, and beliefs related to their job. Based on continual

face-to faceinteraction among themselves and with gang

members, theysoon became a viable component in the effort to

control gangactivities. It was immediately apparent that the task

force rewardedloyalty, secrecy, and conformity togroup-shared

expectations.Their highest priority was to suppress gang activity to

reduce theoccurrence of gang-related crimes. Some of the activities

the task forceperformed skirted the law, and it was not uncommon

that theyconducted illegal searches and stopped many individuals

who were notknown to have a gang affiliation.In other

instances,arrests were made without probable cause, and many

suspected gangmembers were booked and then released. In other

words, get themoff of the street. Although Bob Barton tried to

remain neutraland adhere to his set of personal values, he needed

recognition,support, and approval from the group. Subconsciously,

he wanted to bea “stand-up guy,” and he felt compelled to sacrifice

his standardsto achieve acceptance and status from the work

group.Membership in the group became an end in itself. Abstract

notions ofright and wrong became irrelevant to him. Integrity consisted

of loyalty toand protection of the group. The rationalization

was that no onereally got hurt, and there was a real need to preserve

peace in thecommunities.

Using conceptsrelated to groups and group dynamics, explain

what happenedin this situation. When does group cohesiveness

cease to bepositive and become pathological? Are subcultures in

police workinevitable? Explain. What steps might you take, as a

police administrator, to preventthis from occurring?

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