Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Matthew Jones


A lack of alignment between police performance evaluation policy purposes and officer performance evaluation perceptions has implications for the organizations' resource management, officer morale, and public safety. A literature review points towards a gap existing between policy purpose statements and employee perceptions. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between the policy purposes of police performance evaluations and the officers' perceptions of those evaluation experiences in 4 Ontario municipal police services. DiMaggio and Powell's (1983) Institutional theory was the foundation for this study. Data for this study were collected from 4 police services in Ontario, Canada. The data consisted of police performance evaluation policies and in-person interviews with 12 officers. Data were inductively coded, and then the coded data were subjected to content analysis. Three policy purpose themes and 13 officer perception themes emerged that indicate that: 1) there seems to be a lack of alignment between the policy purpose theme of assessing work performance and eight of the perception themes; 2) officers perceived performance evaluations as negatively impacting their morale: and, 3) healthy relationships with supervisors were more useful to officers than performance evaluations in terms of performance and career outcomes and progression. Consistent with Institutional theory, officers perceived performance evaluations to be necessary even with limited utility. The positive social change implications stemming from this study include recommendations to police executives to consider alternative processes in tandem with performance evaluations to improve morale, in turn creating better opportunities for improved public and officer safety.