I’m still in the blue family: gender and professional identity construction in police officers

du Plessis, Carol and Winterbotham, Sonya and Fein, Erich C. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4119-0130 and Brownlow, Charlotte and du Preez, Jan and McKenna, Bernard and Chen, Peter and Beel, Nathan ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1248-1417 and du Plessis, Graham (2020) I’m still in the blue family: gender and professional identity construction in police officers. Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology. ISSN 0882-0783

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Abstract

With an increase in gender equality policies and gender balance targets within traditionally male professions, organisations such as the police service are experiencing changing demographics. How these shifts influence the construction of professional identity is unclear. Drawing on focus group data, this study aimed to explore identity construction of police officers across gender using a thematic analysis method. Two themes related to identity construction were found to be common to both male and female police officers: ‘Working within a blue family’ and ‘Being a copper is a job for life’. However, the way in which these themes were articulated differed between male and female officers, with male officers experiencing more difficulty than female officers in terms of positioning their identity within the evolving police culture. The findings from this study have implications for gender policies in the workforce as they suggest that men may experience more difficulty than women in adjusting to a gender-diverse workforce, and that professional identity within traditionally male professions is more complex and nuanced than what was previously assumed.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: First published: 1 July 2020. Accepted version embargoed until 1 July 2021 (12 months), in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Psychology and Counselling (1 Jan 2015 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Psychology and Counselling (1 Jan 2015 -)
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2020 02:33
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2021 22:05
Uncontrolled Keywords: gender differences; gender policies; identity construction; male professions; police officers
Fields of Research (2008): 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170105 Gender Psychology
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11896-020-09397-9
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/39452

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