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New Public Management and the Police Profession at Play

New article from the network, by Christin Thea Wathne - OsloMet - Oslo Metropolitan University

This article explores the ways in which competing institutional logics influence the knowledge base of the police, ideas about good police practice and organizational identities. A tension between the humanistic professional police logic and the instrumental New Public Management (NPM) logic is discussed in the context of policing. While the humanistic professional police logic gradually emerged in the 1960s and 70s, over the past twenty years the police force has been reformed in line with the NPM logic. Through qualitative interviews and a quantitative study of the police force, the article investigates the ways in which the ideas of what constitutes a normative good practice are shaped in relation to these two, opposing, logics. A central finding is that despite many years of NPM as the dominant steering logic, a humanistic professional logic persists. However, the shift towards the NPM logic transforms the knowledge base in a more evidence-oriented direction and affects the ideas of normative good practice, especially among police management.


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