Assignment Overview

Strong cognitive abilities are usually considered a very important and positive trait to seek when hiring new employees.  However, one police department decided not to higher those who scored too high on a cognitive skills exam on the grounds that people who are too intelligent will not be satisfied with their job as a police officer and will end up quitting (Naish, 2013).  This of course is a controversial policy that resulted in at least one lawsuit. 

For this assignment we will be looking at individual characteristics that may predict job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and job performance for police officers.  Being a police officer is a demanding job that required strong physical capacity, sharp mental capacity to deal with difficult and life threatening situations, and strong interpersonal skills in order to effectively work with the communities they protect and serve.  The issue of what traits to look for in police officer recruiting is a controversial one. 

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Review the background materials on individual traits, personality, and attitudes such as job satisfaction and organizational commitment.  Then read these articles on law enforcement recruitment with the issues in the background materials in mind: 

Naish, R. (April, 2013). Too clever by half. E.Learning Age,  8. [Proquest] 

Means, R., Lowry, K., & Conroy, D. (2011). Hiring: Background investigation, part 3. Law & Order, 59(3), 12-13. [Proquest] 

Reaume, S. (2009). Improved hiring for child protective investigators. Law & Order, 57(2), 19-20,22,24. [Proquest] 

Now suppose a police department has hired you as a consultant to come up with an exam to assess personality and other traits of applicants to the department.  The department is looking to hire applicants who meet the following criteria:

  1. Are likely to have strong job satisfaction and organizational commitment to the police department after they are hired.
  2. Will be able to work effectively under stressful and sometimes life threatening situations, can make good decisions under pressure.
  3. Will be able to present a positive image of the police department in the communities they serve and maintain strong relations with community leaders. 

Using what you’ve learned in the background about personality traits such as the Big Five Personality traits and factors that influence job satisfaction and organizational behavior, come up with a four to five page paper addressing the following issues:

  1. Do you think cognitive abilities should be part of the exam?  Do you agree with the police department mentioned in Naish (2013) that there should be an upper limit to cognitive abilities, or should the department try to hire those with the highest cognitive abilities? Consider the concepts of ability testing in Chapter 3 of Nair (2010) as part of your answer.
  2. What personality traits do you think will best predict a police officer’s ability to handle stressful situations in the field and make decisions under stress?  Consider the Big Five traits as well as any other personality traits that you read about in Chapter 6 of Nair (2010). Be specific about what traits the department should consider and why these traits will be associated with an ability to work under stress.
  3. What personality traits will best predict an ability to work cooperatively with their coworkers as well as with members of the community they serve?  Again, be specific about which traits the department should consider and why these traits will be associated with a good ability to work with others.  Use Chapter 6 of Nair (2010) as your source of information about Big Five and other personality traits to consider.

Assignment Expectations

  • Answer the assignment questions directly
  • Stay focused on the precise assignment questions, don’t go off on tangents or devote a lot of space to summarizing general background materials
  • Make sure to use reliable and credible sources as your references. Articles published in established newspapers or business journals/magazines are preferred.  If you find articles on the internet, make sure it is from a credible source.

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