Date of Conferral
David Gould, EdD
Protecting U.S. transportation hubs against a wide variety of security threats, while avoiding undue interference with the normal operations of the hubs, is one of the greatest challenges facing security agencies. The problem addressed in this study was the limited information on the contributing factors to seaport security. The purpose of this case study was to explore issues that can inhibit efficiency of security agency operation and collaboration and to identify actions that have enhanced collaboration. Based on theories of organizational development, leadership, and security tradecraft, this study examined the activities related to maintenance of security at a large California seaport. Research questions focused on the types of relationships that exist among supervisors and employees, how these relationships were formed, types of conflicts among organizations, and methods of task allocation among agencies. Individuals who worked for security agencies were randomly selected for participation (n =20). Data gathering was primarily through face-to-face interviews in an open-ended format and augmented by observations of people working within the research environment. An inductive approach to data collection, with open and axial coding, was used to identify themes and patterns. Key findings included themes of trust among seaport security personnel and threats such as smuggling, sabotage, and terrorism. Conclusions and recommendations may help security officials improve the efficiency and effectiveness of security resources. Positive social change may result from enhanced measures that increase security while avoiding threats to commercial activity and individual civil liberties.