‘Me’ versus ‘We’: exploring the personal and professional identity-threatening experiences of police officers and the factors that contribute to them

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

From semi-structured interviews with 42 Canadian police officers, the study suggests that the occupational context created both personal and professional identity threats are largely based on the degree to which officers aligned with the image of the ideal worker as physically strong, aggressive and committed to the job. Because perceived nonconforming members also violated gendered expectations for behavior, they not only experienced threats to their personal identities, but also were potentially subjected to bullying, harassment, and isolation. Socialization processes and occupational stigma were identified as two key factors that intensified the occupational identity and the ‘us’ and ‘them’ divide leading to more vigorous defenses against group identity threats. Despite the salience of these contextual factors, not all officers experienced the identity threats in the same way, highlighting changing views on what it means to be an ‘ideal’ police officer as well as opportunities for reform.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-163
Number of pages17
JournalPolice Practice and Research
Volume24
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Keywords

  • Identity threats
  • culture
  • identity work
  • police
  • socialization
  • stigma

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