Date of Conferral







James Herndon


Police officers deal with a variety of stresses from different sources. Organizational stresses have the most effect on police officers, often more than stressful critical incidents. Previous research has indicated that over time, the mundane organizational and operational stresses of the job can result in a variety of effects from psychological to physiological, and this stress can impact police performance and public safety. However, there remains an important gap in the current literature regarding the impact of stress on the decision-making style of police officers. Police officers often make split-second decisions that can affect their life, the public, and other police officers. Therefore, this quantitative study utilized the General Decision-Making Styles, Operational Police Stress Questionnaire, and Organizational Police Stress Questionnaire to measure the amount of stress police officers are experiencing and if organizational stress influenced their decision-making style. Data were collected from 150 police officers employed in Iowa, and standard multiple regression analysis was used to test the hypotheses. Findings indicated that there is a relationship between operational and organizational stresses and decision-making style. The results of this study support positive social change by identifying which stressors impact a police officer's decision-making style. Early identification of police officers who are struggling with organizational stress can help reduce burnout, turnover, citizen complaints, and use of force investigations, which might help strengthen the public's trust in their police officers and police departments.