Promotion selection techniques in the police service

  • Andrew Gethin Jones

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    The South Wales Constabulary, British Police Forces in general and a proportion of other organisations which have no connection with policing, operate policies of selecting senior staff from within the workforce. This often produces great intrigue amongst candidates as to how promotion selection decisions are made and can create a distrust of the system.

    This distrust often centres upon a lack of understanding of organisational requirements and speculation about what really influences those individuals who are charged with the task of making selection decisions.

    This work has examined the promotion selection system operated by the South Wales Constabulary to identify Sergeants who are suitable to be promoted Inspector and Constables who are suitable to be promoted Sergeant. Weber's analytical concepts of bureaucracy, power and authority have been utilised in an attempt to explain the system and the approach of assessors to it.

    It has established the criteria which assessors claim are influential and sought to show that they vary according to who is doing the selecting. It has also examined the criteria and questioned whether different assessors interpret them similarly. The forum used for selection, the interview, has also been considered and a critical examination made of whether the criteria deemed important, can be evaluated in such an environment.

    These aspects of the study have established that promotion selection is generally carried out on an irrational basis and that criteria which are claimed to be influential vary amongst assessors. It has also revealed that the selection interview does not generally provide scope for the evaluation of those qualities which assessors claim influence their decisions. The work has also embraced an exanimation of candidates perceptions of the criteria they feel influence promotion selection decisions, and shows that they are at variance with those, which assessors claim are influential.

    Overall, the perceptions of candidates have been interpreted as an understandable reaction to an irrational selection system which they cannot hope to understand. In consequence, they have evolved various "theories" which they believe explain what is occurring at a promotion board.

    Finally, the study has questioned whether the selection system, as it operates, produces more organisational problems than it solves.
    Date of Award1989
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Polytechnic of Wales

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