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Organizational Behavior and Criminal Organizations

Many criminal justice agencies are trying to reinvent themselves so as to improve efficiency and effectiveness. Doing so often requires that the organizational culture change. What do you see as the impediments to cultural change in criminal justice agencies?

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No matter how perfect and well-organized criminal justice agencies seem to be, most of them still try to improve their effectiveness and efficiency. The management of the agencies believes that only organizational cultural changes are able to improve the work of the agencies. A culture that, as a rule, unites people, serves as means of segregation when it comes to criminal justice agencies. There is no doubt that culture has a negative impact on the agencies’ interaction with citizens, but an even more negative impact is produced on the interaction between criminal justice agencies themselves.

This impact results in hindering information sharing and, thus, the inability to reduce the percentage of criminal cases solved and, correspondingly, the level of crime. Culturally, certain information may be vital for one agency, while it would be insignificant for another. Moreover, additional barriers in information sharing occur within the agency where different subcultures exist. Cultural differences may result in misunderstandings between criminal justice agencies personnel, which can hinder the implementation of a plan or operation.

This all testifies to the fact that cultural differences undermine the stability of the criminal justice agencies from the inside. This may lead to serious consequences which will affect the security of the country in the first place. Therefore, organizational changes with respect to cultural differences should be implemented in criminal justice agencies. The organization and implementation of cultural changes will be beneficial for them and will lead to the integration of each agency separately and pooling of the interests of criminal justice agencies worldwide.

Imagine that you are the chief executive of a criminal justice agency and you see the need to change the culture from the traditional criminal justice culture that values the status quo to one that values innovation. What steps would you take to initiate and sustain cultural change?

Introducing cultural changes into such organizations as criminal justice agencies requires far more than mere changing of internal policies. Numerous factors should be taken into account when implementing such changes. One of the factors is resistance to change on the part of personnel. The personnel of any organization resists changes because they impede the flow of the activities which people got used to performing.

This is especially true when traditional criminal justice culture that values the status quo is changed for the culture that values innovations to which people are always resistant. One of the most widespread reasons for this resistance is the fear of the unknown because the personnel is concerned with their productivity and performance in general under new standards or circumstances.

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If I were a chief executive of a criminal justice agency, I would, first of all, try to reduce the stress to which the personnel is exposed when the changes are introduced. I would begin with the conference on how harmful cultural differences are for the agencies and how necessary it is to share information about international crimes. Further, I would organize seminars where the personnel would discuss all the questions regarding cultural changes that disturb them. Lastly, I would experiment with introducing the changes in two or three different departments and then compare the results. This would help me to find out whether the changes were beneficial, or whether the results were so insignificant that the changes were not worth initiating and introducing.

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