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Meaningful engagement in RCMP workplaces : what helps and what hinders Morley, Jeffrey Gordon

Abstract

This study investigated what helps and what hinders RCMP officers in being meaningfully engaged in their work. Experiencing workplace engagement is becoming increasingly meaningful and important for both workers and employers in the new economy. The study is important to the field of counselling, and related fields such as organizational psychology, in terms of both theory and practice, as it concretely expands our understanding of the experience of workplace engagement for workers. In this study, the participants consisted of 14 male RCMP officers and 11 female RCMP officers. Participants were all posted in the Greater Vancouver area at the time of the study, although officers had previously been posted at a variety o f locations throughout Canada. Officers were individually interviewed using a semi-structured, open-ended interview consistent with Flanagan's (1954) Critical Incident Technique. In total, 370 critical incidents were elicited from the 25 participants. Critical incidents helping officers experience meaningful engagement in their work totaled 197. Critical incidents hindering officers in experiencing meaningful engagement in their work totaled 173. The critical incidents were then grouped into 19 categories based on the nature of the incident and the meaning the incident held for the officer. To address reliability in categorizing incidents, two independent judges categorized a sampling o f incidents. In both cases judges agreed with the researcher's categorization in over 90% of incidents. Four participants were also presented with their own critical incidents, and asked to categorize them. Again participants agreed with the researcher's categorization in over 90% of incidents. The main categories identified in this the study were supervision, police incidents, perceived organizational support, transfer, personal circumstances, and peers. In each of these categories both helping and hindering critical incidents were identified by participants. This study provides a detailed description and analysis of the critical incidents that help or hinder RCMP officers in being meaningfully engaged in their work.

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