Photo by Jacky Lam on Unsplash

Sensitivity to the Ferguson Effect: The Role of Managerial Organizational Justice

Photo by Jacky Lam on Unsplash

Sensitivity to the Ferguson Effect: The Role of Managerial Organizational Justice

Abstract

Purpose:We argue that the police have been adversely impacted by Ferguson-related negative publicity in ways beyond the supposed increase in crime (e.g., reduced motivation and increased perception of danger). Further, we suggest that organizational justice is a key factor that influences officers’ sensitivity to such Ferguson Effects. Methods: We used a sample of 510 sheriff’s deputies surveyed 6 months after the incident in Ferguson. We explored whether organizational justice is associated with deputies’ sensitivity to several manifestations of the Ferguson Effect using OLS and ordered logistic regression models. Results: The results demonstrated that deputies who believed their supervisors were more organizationally fair were less likely to feel unmotivated, perceive more danger, believe their colleagues have been negatively impacted, or feel that US citizens and local residents have become more cynical toward the police in the post-Ferguson era. Conclusions: Police supervisorswho use organizational justice as a guiding managerial philosophy aremore likely to shield their officers from the negative work-related outcomes that can follow recent Ferguson-type publicity. Supervisors should be fair, objective, honest, and respectful when dealing with their subordinates in order to communicate that the agency has their back even when it may appear the community does not.

Publication
Journal of Criminal Justice, 47, 12-20
Avatar
Justin Nix
Associate Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice

My research interests include police legitimacy, procedural justice, and officer-involved shootings.