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A Complexity Science View of Modern Police Administration

Author: MATTHEW JONES
Published in PAQ, Vol. 32 No. 3

Police agencies are bureaucratic paramilitary organizations that have traditionally responded slowly to change. The emergence of the community policing concept and its related mandates for organizational change presented a host of challenges for public and police administrators across the Western Hemisphere. This piece argues that the proposed changes within policing institutions have largely been unsuccessful due to the administrators within the organizational systems failing to understand the complexity of their environments and subsequently instituting linear models of change. A plausible explanation for this failure of change in police organizations is offered by deviating from traditional paradigms of organizational theory and change and using the concepts of attractors and self-organization derived from the complexity sciences as its framework.

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