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Decision making styles, stress and gender among investigators

Journal article
Authors Ilkka Salo
Carl Martin Allwood
Published in Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies and Management
Volume 34
Issue 1
Pages 97 – 119.
Publication year 2011
Published at Department of Psychology
Pages 97 – 119.
Language en
Keywords Policing, Decision making, Self esteem, Stress, Management styles, Sweden
Subject categories Psychology


Abstract Purpose – The purpose of this study is to analyze the relationship between police investigators’ decision-making styles, degree of judgmental self-doubt and work conditions, on the one hand, and their wellbeing, stress, burnout tendency and sleep quality, on the other. Design/methodology/approach – The study concerns investigative police officers (n ¼ 203). Decision-making styles were measured by Scott and Bruce’s General Decision Making Style scale (GDMS), and judgmental self-doubt by Mirels et al.’s Judgmental Self-Doubt Scale (JSDS). Wellbeing was measured by the Satisfaction With Life scale (SWL), and stress and burnout tendency by the Perceived Stress Questionnaire (PSQ) and a scale for Performance Based Self-Esteem (PBS). Questions on sleep quality and work conditions were also used. Findings – High values on the decision-making styles Avoidant (tries to avoid making decisions) and Dependent (dependent on advice from others before important decisions) were associated with higher PBS, higher PSQ and poorer sleep quality. In addition, the Avoidant style was associated with lower SWL. Both the Dependent and the Avoidant styles were associated with higher influence experienced by others in the investigative work. Hierarchical regression analyses showed that JSDS explained the outcome measures better than the Dependent and the Avoidant decision-making styles. Gender analyses showed that male investigators showed higher values on Rational decision-making style (“exhaustive information search” and “logical evaluation of alternatives”) and female investigators higher values on the Dependent decision-making style. Female investigators also evidenced a higher degree of stress and performance-based self-esteem. Research limitations/implications – The data were collected in a Swedish context and may not be fully generalizable to other countries. Practical implications – These results suggest the need to individualize training programs that seek to ameliorate stress and burnout. Originality/value – This paper furthers understanding of the relation between decision-making styles and wellbeing and stress in police investigators. Paper type Research paper

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