Bringing Law and Order to the Dutch Police
It was their job to bring law and order to the streets of Holland. But that wasn't the problem for the Dutch police force. The problem was the chaos inside the police department.
Our case study was part of a larger project to build a better-performing organization and to help the internal consultants who where in charge of this. The problem the police force had was resistance to change from the lower levels in the hierarchy. Management techniques were not working, and there was a growing tension between new officers and more experienced managers.
The main problem stemmed from the use of managerial techniques "straight out of business school," which did not work inside the police force. It all began when the government replaced part of their officers' training by sending the officers to local business schools instead. The officers themselves were complaining that the "managerial training" they had learned was hard to apply in the police force. But why was it hard, and how could they fix it?
jobEQ was called by a consultant to help to analyse the organizational culture, so that the internal change agents could be briefed on how the cultural patterns of the organization we contributing to the problems. In this case, jobEQ's role was limited to the testing and diagnosis.
500 policemen for all areas in the country and of all ranks were randomly selected to complete the VSQ questionnaire. VSQ is the tool jobEQ uses to measure values and cultural fit. The test has an online format similar to the iWAM, but it measures factors that are more related to social interaction. These factors include how focused a person is on certain values, such as success or safety, and which social patterns they use, such as being left-brained or right-brained. Feedback reports from the test can be used to train employees to improve performance and relationships after a merger, a re-organization, a large recruitment campaign, or other situations where there is social tension within an organization.
With this sample, jobEQ was able to provide graphs, statistics, and feedback showing the main cultural influences in the 26 zones of the Dutch police force. We also looked for cultural differences between officers and lower ranked employees.
We found that the root of the problem boils down to the clash between different value systems. The main value systems within the police organization had evolved to green and yellow. In this case, we are using a color-coding system to identify values (popularized by researchers Don Beck and Christopher Cowan), where green and yellow signify a desire for change, learning, integration of complex systems, and equality. The old style leadership, however, was rather blue - valuing tradition, authority, and the greater good. The new generation of officers was strongly influenced by main value system taught in the business school, which is orange and correlates with competition and autonomy.
Wow, three different sets of values. It's no wonder there was friction.
The conclusion was that the management needed coaching to adapt their management style to be more compatible with the management style which will fit their employees. As such, this is a similar cases as the one in the incentive ravel organization. Managers were taught how to ease change onto the traditional "blue" people, while the younger officers were coached to use their "orange" values in a way that would not conflict with the proper behaviors of a Dutch police officer. Overall, this was a case of competing job cultures, and how you can bring some law and order to the chaos.
Cultural Change Cases
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last modified: 2006/Aug/07 17:57 CEST