Influence of Twelve Hour Shifts on Police Officers’ Job Satisfaction

Introduction

Job satisfaction is defined as a positive state originating from the appraisal of individuals’ work or work experiences and, therefore, determines feelings toward their job (Johnson, 2012). Contentment, enjoyment, and fulfillment are other characters of job satisfaction (Adelbayo & Ezanya, 2011). For police officers, job satisfaction correlates with officers’ demographic characteristics, job task characteristics and officers’ organizational environment (Johnson, 2012). The range of definitions is indicative of the multidimensional nature of job satisfaction as well as the multifaceted conditions and attitudes related to job satisfaction.

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A key motivator for employees’ performance is job satisfaction (Frye & Mount, 2007). When work experiences are positive; research indicates that there is an increase in productivity as well as improved quality of services (Wright & Bonet, 2007). Job satisfaction will lead to different behaviors that benefit all (Miller et al., 2009). However, research indicates that job satisfaction is not given high priority within the police officer community. Although, job satisfaction is a common consideration in the private sector, it is a mere catchphrase in the police department and is generally ignored (DiMambro, 2008).

When looking at job satisfaction and police officers, a number of interrelated factors form the basis for creating job satisfaction among employees (Amendola et al., 2006). Policies, leadership, pay structures, communication channels, and work conditions influence employees’ attitude about their jobs (Barger et al., 2009). One researcher suggested that job satisfaction was influenced by both intrinsic and extrinsic needs (Judge, Piccolo, Podsakoff, Shaw, & Rich, 2010).

There are correlations between psychological and medical issues and their relationship and/or influence on job satisfaction. When psychological and medical issues become severe and problematic, they not only influence individuals’ attitudes about job satisfaction, these issues could evolve into hazards in the workplace (Adebayo & Ogunsina, 2011). When individuals have psychological problems and/or medical concerns, there are usually symptoms, and the issues can be addressed. However, there are other concerns that are not so easily recognized or exhibited. Studies have shown that three interwoven factors, self-perception, perceived community regard, and motivation for choosing the profession influence job satisfaction.

Self-perception is tied in with job satisfaction and the feedback individuals receive from the community (Miller et al., 2009). The public lack of knowledge, related to the demands police officers face, can contribute to poor self-image (Lim, Teo, & See, 2000). The perceived community regard can also have an effect on police officers’ job satisfaction and self-image (Kohan & O’Connor, 2002). The motivation for becoming a police officer has wide range effects on job satisfaction. Job satisfaction hinges on the original motives for becoming a police officer (White et al., 2010). The motives for becoming a police officer can determine individuals’ attitudes and feelings about job satisfaction and determine if the officer will remain in the field of law enforcement.

If police officers’ exhibit or proclaim dissatisfaction with their jobs, which is often a precursor to job turnover (Johnson, 2012). In reviewing the causes of job satisfaction, police officers with less than five years of experience describe themselves as having a positive attitude; older officers with fifteen years of experience describe themselves as having a negative attitude (Miller, Mire, & Kim, 2009).

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The research related to job satisfactions has produced a better understanding of this concept; however, in the past, there was little information related to the ways to improve the attitudes and conditions which create job dissatisfaction. In 2012, an in-depth study conducted by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) provided some suggestions that could help improve/change attitudes about job satisfaction. The suggestions include maximizing skills, ensuring job opportunities or advancement and building better relationship with management.

The prevailing situation regarding 12-hour work shifts

Globally, human resources have been the most important driver towards organizational performance or even government success depending entirely on the labor force and its related management. One of the averaging arguments in the current literature on security matters across the globe is the human resource and worker management-related matters, with the issue of work shifts consuming the public debates. One of the most imperative government sectors is the security department and for the nation to remain peaceful, security is paramount. There has been broad research constantly growing and covering important working aspects including long work hours, shift works, and compressed working weeks and their relationship to employee job satisfaction and motivation. Working shifts have been a contentious issue covering all forms of economies including developed and developing economies, with countries renowned for enforcing democracy and instigating international labor laws comprising part of this menace. Governments are currently employing the twelve-hour shift work program with an aim of improving national security and failing to understand police grievances.

Of all the nations across the world expected to uphold democracy in the workplace and its institutions, research has put the United States on the map, with substantial evidence linking the U.S government with poor policing on the police department. Long working hours have become a common problem in the United States. Drawing evidence from empirical research produced by (Caruso, 2006), approximately 26 percent of men and about 11 percent of women working in America have worked for more than 50 hours per week by the year 2000. Unemployment and the state of global employment competition have been a greater contributor to the current employment crises affecting police officers in the contemporary world, with the majority following the job conditions to secure their job positions (Nalla, Madan & Meško, 2010). With very few regulations existing concerning the limitations towards working hours, a large debate is looming across the police department with different perceptions emerging.

Divided perception over the twelve-hour work shifts

The major problem to the concerns of this study is the extent to which the public and the government have viewed the police sector concerns over the growing debates over twelve-hour work shifts in the police department. For any police officer to perform the assigned national security duties optimally, job satisfaction must be among the priorities that act as a motivation towards their work performance. This view has been a constant cry for several police departments globally, with individuals from the public and the national governance treating these complaints as a precursor to job turnover (Miller, Mire & Kim, 2009). National security tends to be the foremost priority for several governments as one way of protecting their national interest, international reputation and their resources, most of which become personal properties through impunities. Protecting a country, all its laws, its citizens and all the resources it harbors is nonetheless the task of the police society and noting can discharge this aspect. In respect to job satisfaction, however, the question here is whether twelve-hour work shift is relevant.

Supporters of Twelve-hour work shifts on job satisfaction

Following the growing concern over this issue, pros to the idea of twelve hour shift work came up with some miniature reasons to justify their recommendations. The perception and notion stacked to the public and the government is that the twelve-hour shift work program in the security departments provides the government with the ability to enhance national security and protect the national interest. The government and other researchers have emerged with few reasons that demonstrate the association existing between twelve-hour work shifts and job satisfaction, hence, contending that the idea results in job satisfaction to certain extents. In a bid to compensate officers and motivate them to proceed implementing the twelve-hour work shift program, the U.S and other governments across developed nations introduced rewarding schemes. Caruso (2006) asserts, “Incentives for the U.S. workers include rewards of higher pay and prospects for advancement, as well as increasing the chances of keeping the current job by conforming to employer requests to work overtime” (p.531).

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The idea of providing incentives, which is also among the motivational aspects in any job, seems to be confiding supporters that police officers feel content about the situation. Motivational materials especially monetary incentives have been the core to the dilemmas arising in the perceptions among police officers themselves, the public and the government. Another argument brought by the pros of the twelve hour shift program regarding job satisfaction and motivation among police officers is the aspect of regulated working hours. From the aspect of uncomfortably standardized working hours, the government and some devotees emerged with a convincing argument that the twelve-hour shift works enhance individual’s job performance as it allows them ample time to relax and work in turns. One of the outstanding arguments that have assisted the government and the policymakers in implementation of the twelve-hour work shift program regarding the regulated working hours is the aspect of freedom. Amendola et al. (2010) posit that this program somehow allows workers to enjoy extra-duty or off-duty employment.

Contenders of Twelve-hour work shifts on job satisfaction

Since the advent of the twelve-hour shift work program across the police department, several objections have arisen regarding the aspects relating to job satisfaction and motivation amongst these staff. The cons to the idea of a twelve-hour shift work program have come up with a considerable argument in objection to the idea of implementing this program. One of the most focused ideologically argued aspects in relation to police officers’ job satisfaction is the issues regarding Police Officer’s health and safety factors, Police officers’ social and family pursuits, and low motivation arising from overwork and fatigue as well as off-duty court appearances. Amendola et al. (2010) assert, “There is a broad array of possible outcomes important to the officers themselves and the organizations, including officer stress, sleep, fatigue, health, and quality of life, off-duty employment and overtime, and a variety of performance and safety measures” (p.3). Despite its effectiveness in ensuring that public safety remains maintained through this program, these arguments have always tinted this practice.

Twelve-hour work shifts undercut job satisfaction

The quest for providing a tolerable environment for millions of civilians and thumping the global development realm is an important aspect in the current millennium, but international politics and national supremacy competitions are highly putting some individuals within the public sector at stake. A key motivator for employees’ performance is job satisfaction (Zhao &Turner, 2008). When work experiences are positive, intrinsically and extrinsically offering the desired motivation, research indicates that there is an increase in organizational productivity as well as improved quality of services to customers (Wright & Bonet, 2007). Police have no specific clients whom they strain to impress, but work collectively to protect the public, which indicates high sense of patriotism. Job satisfaction will lead to different behaviors that benefit all (Miller, Mire & Kim, 2009). However, research indicates that job satisfaction never receives high priority within the police officer community. Although, job satisfaction is a common consideration in the private sector, it is a mere catchphrase in the police department and remains generally ignored.

Principles of job satisfaction as postulated earlier should always ensure that workers are working in a good environment, have conducive working environments and have livable wages and salaries to support their families. Anything less than observing favorable working conditions for the workers and failure of employers to uphold principles of job satisfaction remain completely subjugation to contentment. When looking at job satisfaction and police officers, a number of interrelated factors form the basis for creating job satisfaction among employees (Amendola et al., 2006). Policies, leadership, pay structures, communication channels and work conditions influence employees’ attitude about their jobs (Karlson et al., 2009). One researcher suggested that job satisfaction remain influenced by both intrinsic and extrinsic needs (White et al., 2010). The twelve-hour work shift approach may simply represent fixed working hours that normally seem to subdue job satisfaction, as security workers seem overworked, have little resting time and minimal chances to spend with their families among other denials.

Given the deprived conditions that the twelve-hour working program offers, it is possible for one to conclude that police officers often have compressed working moments. As compared to the eight-hour working condition where police officers enjoy a favorable permutation in the working duration, the twelve-hour program has proved to be a dictatorial move by governments. With such unfortunate criticisms regarding twelve-hour work shift program, it is easier for one to identify a negative correlation between the program and the job satisfaction matter. Hall et al. (2010) assert that it gives police officers a sturdy moment to balance role conflict between family matters and job conditions. In laypersons discernment, when police officers exhibit or proclaim dissatisfaction with their jobs, it is often a precursor to job turnover. In reviewing the causes of job satisfaction, police officers with less than five years of experience describe themselves as having a positive attitude; older officers with fifteen years of experience describe themselves as having a negative attitude.

Evidence against twelve-hour work shifts

Despite the fact that officers during their initial operation period tend to exhibit resilience and a great attitude towards such programs, this aspect does not go a long way throughout their service in the government. Subjecting police officers to a harsh working environment affects their social, family and leisure pursuits, subsequently affecting their attitude towards work (Swenson et al., 2008). This element indicates a negative correlation between the twelve-hour work shift system and job satisfaction. Since the introduction of twelve-hour work shifts in police departments through national governance as a way to reinforce security, much has emerged with medical researchers, psychologists, and normal researchers shifting their much attention towards understanding its impact on the socio-economic position of officers. Substantial research literature and empirical evidence seem to be constantly linking the twelve-hour work shift programs with factors like fatigue, poor job performance, physical health and psychosocial wellbeing, all of which contravene job satisfaction principles (Nielsen, 2007). In respect to such factors, it is important for this study to highlight the mechanisms to which such factors breach job satisfaction.

Police Officer’s health and safety factors

Protecting the public and entire national property including laws and all the resources it harbors is normally a challenging task for the police officers. Therefore, their safety, physical health and psychological wellbeing are paramount factors, which depict job satisfaction. There are correlations between psychological and medical issues and their relationship and/or influence on job satisfaction. When psychological and medical issues become severe and problematic, they not only influence individuals’ attitude about job satisfaction, these issues could evolve into hazards in the work place (Adebayo & Ogunsina, 2011). When individuals have psychological problems and/or medical concerns, there are usually symptoms, and the issues much relate to activities. However, there are other concerns, which are not so easily recognized or exhibited. Studies have shown that three interwoven factors, self-perception, perceived community regard and motivation for choosing the profession influence job satisfaction.

Officers exposed to harsh working conditions including long working hours are normally at greater risks of developing psychological complications. The twelve-hour work shifts have minimal resting moment and subjects police officers to work pressures. Continuous exposure to long working hours coupled with disrupted normal sleep and dietary patterns can result to serious mental disorders to workers. Kales et al. (2009) posit, “Strenuous work circumstances can precipitate on-duty cardiovascular disease events among hypertensive emergency responders and remain exposed to significant psychological trauma, which, in susceptible persons, can progress to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)” (p.13). Similar findings appeared in the study undertaken to examine shift works in hospital nurses and according to Ardekani et al. (2008), anxiety symptoms, depression, social dysfunction and mental disorders are eminent to workers operating in shift works especially of long hours. The presence of psychological or any medical complications in workers depicts that workers operate in a constrained environment and thus subjugates the principles of job satisfaction.

Police officer’s social and family pursuits

The twelve-shift work program seems to deprive police officers ample time to have time with their families with research indicating that time for having normal sleep and dietary patterns remains compromised that further leads to fatigue issues and poor performance in work (Nielsen, 2007). Limited leisure time and demanding work conditions normally change the perception of workers especially one like the police job that involves controlling and safeguarding property that sometimes calls for emergency response (Vila, 2009). The twelve-hour work shift program undermines the social stratification and disrupts physiological and biological process including sleep, which are paramount for individual state of functioning. Disruption to subsequent sleep episodes especially during the night shifts alters with the family expectation and deprives individuals the freedom to share moments with their families (Vila, 2009). Chronic sleep disruptions may result to insulin resistance and the formation of metabolic syndrome, condition that have remained normally underestimated, but abide potential health complications. Through such circumstances, it sounds much easier for one understand the negative correlation that exists.

Low motivation from overwork and fatigue

For employees to work diligently for any organization or government, motivation, be it intrinsic or extrinsic is a dominant factor. Motivation, according to numerous employee impetus studies, has the capability of driving organizations towards achieving their goals, beginning with individual focus to exponential teamwork. The correlation therefore between the twelve-hour work shift system and job satisfaction proves negative as little of its influence seems more convincing in regard to employment standards (Karlson et al., 2009). The twelve-hour work shift program seems to offer no intrinsic motivation as it subjects police officers to extreme job pressures that further lead to poor commitment, reduced job involvement among other negative impacts. Overwork and fatigue dampen the working spirit of police officers given the work demands including reinforcing security, which is a matter of national interest of great apprehension. In actuality, most of the twelve-hour shift work rosters fluctuate and have always remained manipulated by some powerful individuals in police departments at the expense of other workers suffering from extended working hours.

Twelve –hour shift works and Court appearance/ Case Management

Worst of all the issues that are currently affecting and tinting the effectiveness of the twelve-hour shift work program and its policies is the aspect of balancing police resting hours and court appearances. The twelve-hour work shift program being among the compressed working hours programs only allows officers to rest when they are off from work. Research has argued that the issues pertaining to the court processes are one of the disappointing factors that demean the effectiveness and imperativeness of the twelve-hour working program. Apart from handling security matters outside the courts and assisting in instilling peace within the public, police have an important duty of appearing in court during the prosecution of defendants. Caruso (2006) affirms, “The U.S. police officers work large amounts of overtime to make off-duty court appearances, late arrests, write reports, and to work at special events” (p.533). This aspect hampers them from concentrating on the job during their normal working hours and hence making it difficult for police officers to deal with emotionally charged people and difficult situations at work.

Recommendation

The quest for stabilizing national security is normally a priority to a continuum of countries globally and this aspect might remain uncompromised. Research might not have to figure or improve conditions established by governments as different nations have different laws and regulations that may remain unopposed. The research related to job satisfaction has produced a better understanding of this concept; however, in the past, there was little information related to ways of improving the attitudes and conditions, which create job dissatisfaction. Drawing some possible strategies from other prior studies, this study will provide a few recommendations that may spur working conditions in the global police society. To begin with, an in-depth study conducted by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) provided some suggestions that could help improve/change attitudes about job satisfaction. The suggestions include maximizing skills, ensuring job opportunities or advancement, and building a better relationship with management. Governments must also provide motivational items like financial rewards, fringe benefits, promotions to triumphant officers to boost morale.

Conclusion

The world has plunged into international competencies with each country focusing too much on improving national outlook and safeguarding national interest, putting unnecessary pressures to some few individuals in the public sector minus understanding the impact of some policies. The twelve-hour work shift program has become a common governance approach especially in the security departments with a major aim of reinforcing national security. Nonetheless, the advent of such approach might not appeal to the police officers as research indicates that it potentially subjugates job satisfaction principles. Principles of job satisfaction should always ensure that workers are working in good health, have working environments that are conducive, and have livable wages and salaries to support their families. Little or none of these elements seems practical in the police society, as improving national security has been more of priority than employee concerns. Twelve-hour shift program deprives individuals of property working conditions seem it hampers their safety, physical and psychological health, and goes against physiological and biological processes.

Reference List

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Ardekani, Z., Kakooei, H., Ayattollahi, M., Choobineh, A., & Seraji, G. (2008). Prevalence of mental disorders among shift work hospital nurses in Shiraz, Iran. Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, 11(12), 1605-1609. Web.

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