Shots Fired! Switching Between Practices in Police Work


Published: 30Jun2016
Samer Faraj, Director, PhD Program

AuthorsSchakel, J.K,  Fenema, P.C, Faraj, S. 

Publications: Organization Science


Fast-response organizations are under increased scrutiny as to their ability to mount a timely and coordinated response to unexpected events. Our inductive study focuses on a high profile murder that occurred in Amsterdam in 2011 where a large multidisciplinary police team faced major coordination challenges and was unsuccessful in switching from the practice of surveillance to that of apprehension when their target was suddenly gunned down. Our analysis suggests that challenges related to relational ambiguity, knowledge flows, communications technology, team composition, and field obstructions, hindered the switching between practices under conditions of surprise and fast response. The paper offers a theoretical framework toward a greater understanding of the persistent coordination challenges that arise when a sudden switch from one practice to another becomes necessary. Our study contributes toward a greater understanding of practice performance and the social and material challenges related to switching between practices.

Read full article: Organization Science, March 8, 2016