Re: PCP and group trainings

Devi Jankowicz (
Sun, 6 Dec 1998 21:17:39 +0000

Thomas Grunau writes,

>How can I found out more about corporate constructs?

And I've been thinking about this question, off and on, all week.

The first thing would be to define what you mean by "corporate
constructs". If there is such a thing, it makes sense to think of it as
the constructs owned by the set of stakeholders who represent the
organisation. That immediately raises two issues.
a) who are these people, and who decides who they are?
A perfectly legitimate answer to this question is that they are the Chief
Executive and his/her immediate team of subordinates; plus the group of
stakeholders in the immediate environment: in the case of a Police
organisation, I assume that this would include the key employees of the
local authority or central government, depending on how these things are
arranged in Bosnia (e.g. the civil servants whom you mention). You
yourself would be able to add to this list from your knowledge of local

I call this "perfectly legitimate" assuming you are happy with a
definition of "the organisation' which accepts the existing legal
definition of legitimacy. If you wished to be more radical, you could
decide you wished to define "the organisation" from the clients' point of
view, and include a variety of social and community group representatives
as well.

b) how do you take into account the obvious fact that no set of
stakeholders, once you've defined them, are ever in complete agreement
about the nature of the organisation? Stakeholders by definition
represent different interests with respect to an organisation about which
they care deeply; so their constructs are likely to differ. That's not a
problem: just a reality to bear in mind; and one with which PCP is very
well equipped to cope!

To move to an earlier question: which I wouldn't, as you defined it,
construe as a matter of "corporate" constructs, particularly, but rather,
of "employee constructs".
>we want to look, what the "Quality of policework" means to my colleagues.
>opportunity could be to use the elements as the functions of policemen in
>the organization (Prof. Rainer Riemann told us so.). We have to do it twice,
>because we have to look at the behaviour of policemen and the reports of

May I assume that when you say "colleagues", you actually mean
"policemen" rather than "occupational psychologists studying policemen"?
If so, then I'd be inclined to construe what you're doing as a job
analysis study. yes, you could, as reimann has suggested, use police
activities or functions as your elements. My own preference (equally but
not more valid!) would be to use employees as element. Draw a sample of
police staff at the same rank, asking them to nominate, say, 4 policemen
known to them who represent "very good policing practice in what they do"
and a further 4 who represent "rather poor policing practice in what they
do", each respondent using this set of 8 people (names suitably coded for
confidentiality!) as ELEMENTS in an individual repertory grid. I would be
inclined to elicit constructs triadically, using the elicitation phrase
"which of these 3 are alike and which different _in terms of what it is
they DO_ which makes them more, or less, effective".

I would then do a content analysis of a set of c. 20-25 such grids
(assuming that each person provides you with 10 - 12 constructs), using
Peter Honey's content analysis technique.

I would then repeat all of that for each different major rank in the
police service. That sounds like a lot! Certainly, each such group of
respondents represents about 30 hours full-time work in data collection
and a further 30 hours or so of analysis, if you care about the
reliability of the content analysis involved (you should!) However, that
needn't be an inordinate amount of work: if your police service is
anything like the average UK constabulary, you would get a fair coverage
if you looked at a maximum of 3, or perhaps 4, ranks:
a) the basic police-man or woman
b) your equivalent of the Sergeant rank: i.e., the person in charge of a
single shift of policemen/women in a local station
c) your equivalent of the District Commander or police Superintendent
d) your equivalent of the Senior level: the people who set policy and
distribute budgets (not "have their own budget", but who make decisions
on budgets for a group of Districts).

Assuming you exclude the time involved in negotiating organisational
entry and access, the whole study as I've described it would take you,
and a research assistant, around 18 months of direct contact; add in the
need to write and present reports, and you'll be fully occupied for a
solid 2 years or thereabouts!

Please forgive me if this sounds very prescriptive! It's only a starting
point for your own thinking and discussions, and I'm sure a lot would
need to differ depending on your local circumstances, of which I'm
fearfully ignorant. What I'm doing, in fact, is drawing on a somewhat
similar set of studies which I conducted in the 1980s for An Garda
Siochana, the Irish police service. In a 2-year period, myself and a
serving police Sergeant seconded 50% of his time to the research study
managed to do something similar for 3 ranks: the Sergeant, the
Superintendent, and the Chief Superintendent (roughly equivalent to b),
c) and d) above.

A final point. You say:
>We did not used bipolarity. We talked with our colleagues
>about the meaning of the words they wrote on presentation cards.
and later
>My view is that change or development in can`t be done without looking at the

Indeed so. I'm sure that some valuable work can be done by simply asking
people for word meanings in the way you have described. But if you want
to discover personal meaning, and do so thoroughly, there's no substitute
for asking people about their constructs- bipolar, by definition!

I hope this is of some use; please shout if I can expand on any of it.

Kind regards

Devi Jankowicz