Torill Iversen

Om ledelse, IKT og sånt

Police and Change


A friend of mine called me today regarding a paper she is about to write on a management study.

The essence of the problem is something like: What is specific to law enforcement organizations in connection with restructuring and change?

We began to discuss change management and what this means. It struck me later that the question probably were designed from someone within the police organization.

Within the police there has traditionally been a culture of thinking that “the police organization is very special.”  This provides most impact when one wants to see what others are doing to solve their organizations challenges. Or when it’s about leadership.

Still another attitude prevails at the agency that one can not be a leader there, without having the police professional backgrounds and have gone all the ranks up. This will of course depend on the type of leader we are talking about, an investigation leader will necessarily require police expertise. But as we work our way away from the purely professional police leadership roles, the police could have increasingly used people with management- or other organization related education and skills. When it comes to economics, strategic management, organizational development, etc. is probably not always the best to recruit from the agency. At least not unless they are trained and actually discipline management.

Back to the changes and restructuring.

I do not think that the restructuring of the police is so much more demanding than in other organizations. Yes, it must take into account the political and legal constraints, but there are several government agencies that also need too that.  And that it is only the outer limits. When it comes to implementation, it’s all about the people. Change management. About involvement , communication, and to secure anchoring and ownership of the individual concerned.

I began to ponder at this question and problem .. so far I have not been able to find any evidence that it differs from other restructuring and change processes. The only thing I can think of is that they are implemented differently .. but I think that might be more about lack of expertise in change management, then that police organizations are so different.

What do you mean?

3 thoughts on “Police and Change

  1. Isn’t the “we’re so special, change managment doesn’t apply to us” the classic excuse against change, and one of the core principals of change managment is to get the organisation to understand they’re not?


  2. Interesting reflection you brought on 🙂
    I have always thought about resistance to change (in organizations) on a person-level, ( insecurity, scared of how their working future will be and so on ), and never on the organizational culture-level. Gives a new perspective 🙂


  3. I think you, in order to succeed with change, you will need to realise that not only do people affect culture, but also that culture affect people. Adressing this issue from both sides is one of the keys to your succes. Your example from law enforcement, where background and skillset is homogeneous and very spesific for the organisation, makes this very clear.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s