Aspirations and expectations of Female BME police officers’ career progression: A two-phase study

Research Institution / Organisation

Northumbria University

Principal Researcher

Dr Vicki Elsey

Level of Research

Professional / Work-based

Project Start Date

March 2019

Research Context

​Existing literature has explored potential barriers for the underrepresentation of females in the police force, finding issues ranging from perceived tokenism (Archbold & Schulz, 2008), workplace discrimination (Brown, 2000) and the incompatibility of family and working life (Turnball & Wass, 2012). Further research has then looked more specifically at career progression and finding that expectations and aspirations differ between groups (e.g. Archbold et al., 2010). This is important when understanding how to achieve representation at all levels. However, a lot of previous research ignored to what extent these differences exist, especially in England and Wales, so it is important to understand the extent to effectively target strategies.

Fran Boag-Munroe (2017) completed a study whereby career progression expectations and aspirations were compared and quantified between females and males in the 43 England and Wales police forces. This research provided a great insight and highlighted some key points for future research which lead to the rationale of this study.

There is yet to be a study combining mixed methods looking in more detail at whether female career progression aspirations and expectations differ between groups with one or more protected characteristics and potential reasons for this formation.

Research aims
Extension of Fran Boag-Munroe’s (2017) study. This will be replicated in terms of an online questionnaire to quantify individuals’ career progression expectations and aspirations. The study will be extended by exploring individuals with more than one protected characteristic (race and gender) with potential reasons for these attitudes.

Research Questions

  1. Do career expectations and aspirations differ for female BME officers? If so to what extent?
  2. Are there any common themes when discussing career expectations and aspirations that could relate to increasing diversity?

Research Methodology

A non-experimental, mixed methods design, using both a quantitative online survey and a qualitative semi-structured telephone interview.

Phase1; Questionnaire
Participants will answer one in-house questionnaire closely inspired by the one used in Fran Boag-Munroe’s (2017) study to establish career aspirations and expectations as well as some in house introductory questions to establish demographics. The proposed analysis will be multinomial logistic regression analysis and simple linear regression analysis which is also what was used in Boag-Munroe’s study.

Phase 2; Telephone interviews (due to commence in October 2020)
A set of open-ended questions will be used to direct the conversation surrounding the previous findings to discuss reasons for career expectations and aspirations- especially for those with protected characteristics. The proposed analysis is thematic analysis.

Date due for completion

March 2020
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