An increasing number of organisations, as part of a strategic planning approach to continuous improvement, are starting to use strategy and policy deployment. In Western organisations the recent interest in strategy and policy deployment has been largely generated by the use of self-assessment against a recognised model for business excellence such as the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) model and Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award (MBNQA). It has been found that 'policy and strategy deployment' based on the Japanese hoshin kanri concept is a good method of engaging all employees in the business planning process, focusing an organisation on the critical objectives to achieve business results, and providing an effective means to track progress again set objectives (Lee and Dale, 1998).
The purpose of this research is to examine the nature of 'strategy and policy deployment' within ***** Police. It is suggested that the findings of this research will be valuable to the organisation and similar complex, multi-layered and multi-functional organisations (particularly other UK police forces). It will also be of interest to organisations who, like ***** Police, utilise the EFQM Model. Publication of the results of this research, subject to journal review, will also add to the relatively limited literature on strategy and policy deployment. Unlike aspects such as quality management systems and statistical process control, few academics have examined the use of strategy and policy deployment to deliver quality improvements and business results (Calingo, 1996).
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It is suggested that the findings of this research will be particularly valuable in light of recently identified 'areas for improvement' under the 'policy and strategy' criteria within the ***** Police Corporate EFQM Assessment:
'â€¦(regarding annual plans) the majority of feedbackâ€¦referred to a lack of understanding and awareness amongst staff of the contents of the annual plan and how it relates to their role. The relationship between the plan and actual activity is not apparent, with a significant number of staff unable to identify the links between their individual objectives and the plan' (EFQM Corporate Feedback Report April 2002)
The reason the organisation is concerned about this issue is that one of the major channels for communicating and implementing strategy and policy is through the planning process and publication and circulation of the policing plan.
To summarise the main purpose of this research figure 1 below illustrates in broad and simplistic terms the direction of strategy and policy deployment within ***** Police. The simple question addressed here - how is strategy and policy, that is defined at senior organisational level, translated into activity within 'front line' staff interactions with customers (public of *****)? Figure 1 also illustrates the variety of functions and departments, the large number of layers within the organisation and also highlights the issue of policy impacting from external sources (i.e. Home Office Guidance and Police Legislation). It is worth noting that on the ***** Police Intranet there are 26 policies under 'Operational Policing Support', 28 policies under 'People Management' and an additional 10 to 15 miscellaneous policies and related strategies. There is also the Police National Legal Database and the ***** Police Annual Performance Plan.
Figure 1. ***** Police Policy and Strategy Deployment
Black arrows - policy direction from national level.
Blue arrows - internal policy and strategy direction.
Orange arrows - interactions between organisation and customers.
Dashed lines represent organisational boundaries.
HMIC - Her Majesties Inspector of Constabulary.
ACPO - Association of Chief Police Officers.
N'hood - neighbourhood officers (as distinct from detectives and response).
Central Support Department - includes departments such as Traffic and Intelligence
Note: within Area Policing and Central Support Departments there are approximately five 'layers' based on hierarchical command structure. It is also important to note the different mindsets between Areas and Departments and between the various sub-units i.e. uniformed neighbourhood and detectives.
Through focus group work and a survey this research seeks to establish, through the analysis of the views of a wide range of individuals, the how strategy and policy is deployed (translated into activity). Through this analysis and a review of the published literature it is suggested that it may be possible to make recommendations in order to improve strategy and policy deployment and consequently deliver quality improvements and business results.
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***** Police is one of the large metropolitan Forces in the UK. The population of the area ***** Police services is approximately 1.4 million, 150k crimes and 130k 999 calls are recorded and logged annually. The organisation is comprised of approximately 4000 police officers, 1,500 support staff and operates on an annual budget of approximately £270 million.
Profile, Personal Suitability
I have a B.Sc. in psychology from Manchester Metropolitan University and an M.Sc. in Investigative Psychology from the University of Liverpool. Post qualification I worked as a researcher, part-time lecturer and profiling consultant for Prof. David Canter at Liverpool University. Both qualifications and subsequent employment involved significant research activities.
I am currently halfway through an MBA at John Moores - Liverpool Business School. During my studies I have carried out several work place based assignments on issues such as measures of service quality, information management and leadership. I am also qualified as an EFQM Assessor and have carried out assessments within ***** Police and as a consultant working for Lancashire Constabulary and NorthWest Water.
Position in Organisation
I would argue that I am ideally placed within the organisation to carry out research. My current role title is 'Head of Research and Analysis' within the Force Information Systems Department, I report to the Force Information Manager (my line manager and sponsor of this research). Much of the work my team and I carry out involves analysis of organisational performance, consequently we deal with a wide range of departments and geographical areas within the organisation. I also regularly deal with senior officers and managers. The scope of our work and the levels we access will assist in engaging a wide range of people in the research, specifically in terms of early focus group work. In my current role I have built up a team of experienced and inexperienced analysts and researchers and have already discussed employing several members of my team as research assistants. This will support the research project and provide a development opportunity for the less experienced researchers. An additional factor worth highlighting is that my team and I are utilising SPSS analysis software as part of research into victim's of crime views of the police service they received. This experience will assist in terms of the analysis stage of this research project (see Method section later).
Philosophical Approach to Research
As described within the methods section later, essentially this research project involves focus groups and interviews followed by a large-scale survey (based on literature and interview/focus group analysis). In this way I am taking a mixed methods approach to the research. Not surprisingly, due to the nature of my current role, I have found recently (in self assessment) that I lean towards the accommodator 'positivist' style of learning (Kolb, 1979). As someone who deals with 'numbers' on a daily basis in examining organisational performance I have found myself drawn more to large scale empirical studies as opposed to case study, experiential or interpretative approaches. However, it is also interesting to note that over a year ago during management training sessions a similar self-assessment resulted in almost equal scores across all learning styles. Certainly the use of more qualitative interpretative approaches is not unfamiliar to me. In previous studies and employment I have analysed interview data from a sample of 15 convicted murderers for a paper on 'narrative criminal psychology'. I have also used a mixed method approach in analysing Benefit Agency staff views of internal fraud. This involved interviews with a cross section of staff, followed by a national survey.
Effectively, it is a culmination of this past experience and the nature of my current role that has prompted me to utilise a mixed methodology. Additionally research supervisors tend to encourage this approach in the current climate and the use of interview/focus group followed by survey provides the researcher with a 'fuller' picture of the topic and organisation under scrutiny. To increase published knowledge on a specific issue we are encouraged to include a sample that is generalisable or significant. On the other hand in order to gain an understanding of the phenomena and attempt to explain the results of quantitative analysis, the researcher needs to draw on the experiences and 'world views' of the 'actors' involved at a deeper level (Yolles, 1990). Focus groups/interviews are ideal for this purpose.
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Finally I feel it is important to take this dual approach because of my position in what is effectively action research. I cannot divorce myself from the fact that I am part of the organisation and will indeed have a role to play in the issue under scrutiny - strategy and policy deployment. By utilising the mixed methodology I am attempting to account for any bias I, or those assisting the research, may bring to the focus groups or in the interpretation of the statistical analysis. Essentially the triangulation of literature, qualitative and quantitative analyses will bring some cross validation or 'internal validity' to the research process.
(for further discussion and philosophical underpinning see Methods section)
Literature - Strategy and Policy Deployment
According to Newcomb (1989) strategy and policy deployment (hoshin kanri) "helps create cohesiveness within a business that is understood throughout the company; it provides a structure with which to identify clear organisational goals". Van der Wiele et al (1996) say "In recent times policy deployment has been a topic in which organisations have shown an increasing interest, but it is still not a well known technique in many companies".
Witcher and Butterworth (1997) contend "what makes hoshin kanri different from other strategy formulation and implementation methodologies is the application of total quality management". Although they refer to it as "a particular type of TQM (Total Quality Management)" they do emphasise its plan-do-check-act (PDCA) nature and that it begins with the check cycle (so it becomes CAPD).
Hoshin kanri was developed in Japan in the early 1960s to communicate a company's policy, goals and objectives throughout its hierarchy; its main benefit is to focus attention on key activities for success. A literal translation of
hoshin kanri provides an insight into its concept (Total Quality Engineering, 1997):
Hoshin = a compass, a course, a policy, a plan, an aim;
Kanri = management control, care for;
Together = "management control of the company's focus".
Total Quality Engineering (1997) say hoshin kanri is:
'a system of forms and rules that encourage employees to analyse situations, create plans for improvement, conduct performance checks, and take appropriate action'.
The most comprehensive definition, and one that emphasises the importance of the PDCA cycle and feedback, is that of Eureka and Ryan (1990):
'Deploy and share the direction, goals, and approaches of corporate management from top management to employees, and for each unit of the organisation to conduct work according to the plan. Then, evaluate, investigate and feed back the results, or go through the cycle of PDCA continuously and attempt to continuously improve the performance of the organisation'.
For a discussion of 'what is policy deployment?' see Rich (2002) briefing paper on Taking Strategy into Action:
Babich (1995) says strategic planning is considered by many organisations as a necessary business tool but after considerable effort and much budgetary commitment, the strategic plan is filed and never used. He suggests five main reasons why strategic plans fail:
daily management not distinct from breakthrough objectives,
vague mission/value and weak organisation linkage,
vague vision/strategic intent and weak organisational linkage,
lack of data analysis during plan creation,
lack of periodic review and process improvement.
Similar problems are highlighted by Mazur (1998) in a study of strategy deployment for small and medium enterprises
Gilmore and Camillus (1996) say the usefulness of conventional planning systems are doubtful because:
they focus too much on content and not enough on process - finding solutions to perceived problems, rather than defining how organisation should recognise them and then approach the complex and significant issues,
they seek to apply existing solutions learned from different contexts to the situation at hand, ignoring the differences that make such solutions of questionable relevance, and
they disregard the intrinsically unique, intransigent, wicked character of strategic issues.
Policy deployment offers a planning process that can respond to and resolve these issues, and ensure that the policy and the plan remain alive and vibrant.
The Policy deployment Research Committee (1994) proposes the following key elements in the policy deployment process:
a planning and implementation process that is continuously improved throughout the year using a PDCA cycle,
focus on key systems that need to be improved to achieve strategic objectives,
participation and co-ordination by all levels and departments as appropriate in the planning, development, and deployment of yearly objectives and means,
planning and execution based on facts, and
goals and action plans that cascade through the organisation based on the true capability of the organisation.
The goal/QPC research committee elements emphasise the importance of
PDCA, focus, and participation which are essential to successful employee buy-in and implementation.
One of the first articles to thoroughly summarise the Japanese approach to policy deployment was produced by Dale (1990) He said "policy deployment within a process of long-term planning is one of the features of 'the approach' to TQC by Japanese companies". He described the deployment of the president's annual management policy plan through the organisational hierarchy. It was a process of developing plans, targets, controls and areas for improvement based on the previous level's policy and an assessment of the previous year's performance. The plans and targets are discussed and debated at each level until a consensus on plans and targets is reached, along with the methods for meeting the goal - he called this "play catch" but it is now more commonly known as "catchball". He went on to say that once agreement has been reached at all levels, in a strictly controlled six-to-eight week policy deployment period, individual, plans, targets, control points, improvement areas and corrective actions are recorded and, perhaps more importantly, predominantly displayed around the workplace. Control of the deployment process and subsequent implementation of the policies is conducted through quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily reviews depending on the level of the individual involved.
Dale (1990) says that the PDCA cycle "is extensively used in these diagnoses" and that "the discipline of policy deployment and agreement at each level" ensures everyone is working in the same direction. He concludes that "there is little doubt that the policy deployment method can assist an organisation to attain its corporate goals". He suggests it ensures improvement activities are integrated in corporate objectives and that it can resolve conflicts in time, resource and initiative conflicts.
The concept of policy deployment as providing a bridge between the corporate "plan" and the "do" steps in continuous improvement is re-emphasised by Robinson (1994) who says that at Harris Semiconductor (USA), the process:
'embraces the concept of empowerment as a balance between alignment of activities to the goals and the freedom people have to take action. The ultimate purpose of this process is to empower people to make meaningful improvements'.
More recently, Kondo (1997) described hoshin kanri as "a system of
management in which the annual policy set by a company is passed down
through the organisation and implemented across all departments and
functions". The key points of Kondo's paper are:
policy deployment is effective in motivating employees,
the aim of the process is "give and take",
for a top-down approach to work senior managers have to be highly respected,
results are checked by means of individual managers' control items,
the process is an important strategy for allowing top managers to exercise leadership,
policy is not determined only by short-term considerations,
top management must "lead the way in whipping up everyone's energy and enthusiasm",
the purpose of the internal top management audit is to find and solve problems, discover and build on strengths, and standardise and institutionalise improvements,
if management audits are carried out in the wrong way, there is a danger they will become superficial and ritualistic, and
it is important for top managers to talk directly to ordinary workers.
The author suggests that the most important policy deployment concepts to be drawn from the writings of both Dale (1990) and Kondo (1997) are:
In terms of benefits, Hill (1994) says policy deployment:
helps create cohesiveness within an organisation and provides a consensus of the company objectives at all levels;
brings into focus a vision of the future of the organisation;
integrates and orchestrates the efforts of all within an organisation into actions that move the entire organisation towards its objectives;
creates and establishes process to execute breakthrough year after year;
creates commitment to both the direction and implementation paths chosen;
increases interdepartmental co-operation;
draws on and reinforces the PDCA cycle in monthly progress reviews;
creates a planning and implementation system that is responsive, flexible, yet disciplined;
gives leadership a mechanism to understand the key problem areas in a company, and facilitate prioritisation.
creates quicker and more accurate feedback loops and by means of the catchball process it provides optimum communication both between levels and departments concerned.
Mulligan et al. (1996) believes "a major strength of hoshin is its added dimension of adaptability that arises from the constant application of Deming's PDCA methodology". However, while knowledge and skill in the use of quality
management tools and techniques is a prerequisite for policy deployment,
perhaps the most important and most difficult aspect of policy deployment, due to the corporate culture required, for western managers is the "deployment" phase - catchball. It is essential that employees understand what targets should be achieved and how to do so. During the catchball process, it is necessary to reach a consensus for targets and means across functions and between varying levels of the organisation. Top managers are required to show leadership (Kondo, 1997) and communicate effectively throughout the process if they are to foster alignment and continuous improvement while maintaining sufficient levels of control. Finally, Gilmore and Camillus (1996) say:
The nature of strategic issues, especially in dynamic, complex environments, requires a fundamental change in how strategic planning is conducted. The focus of the exercise must shift from defining the solution for problems which are assumed to exist, to defining a process which is responsive to the wicked characteristics of the perceived issues, a process which is alive and changing as additional learning takes place, a process which is inclusive, cross-functional, cross-hierarchical, iterative and self-correcting.
Strategy and Policy Deployment in ***** Police
Since 1998 ***** Police has been utilising the EFQM Business Excellence Model and carrying out local, department and corporate self-assessments. From the ***** Police EFQM Intranet pages the following describes how it is used:
'Although the Model can be used for inspection purposes (HMIC Inspections are undertaken in accordance with the EFQM Excellence Model, for example) Areas and departments use it as a self-assessment tool.
To facilitate this process, the Force has some 200 fully trained EFQM Assessors are located in Areas and Departments. To ensure sufficient EFQM Assessors are available, Assessor training courses form part of the Force core training programme.
When undertaking a self assessment Assessors look for evidence of how well an Area/Department satisfies the requirements of the Excellence Model. This is achieved by asking questions based around the Model via 1 to 1 interviews, focus groups, examining documentary evidence etc. In simplistic terms, where it's identified that an Area/Department satisfies the requirements of the Model it's referred to as a strength. Where we fall short, it's described as an area for improvement.
At the conclusion of the self assessment process, a report (known as a 'Feedback Document') is presented to the Management Team outlining the main strengths and areas for improvement for each of the nine criterion parts of the Model'
Policy and strategy represent just one of the nine criteria. As noted at the start of this paper the recent corporate feedback document reported several key areas for improvement that highlight some fundamental concerns for the organisation:
'A significant number of Feedback Documents (59%; 3 Area and 10 Departments) referred to staff being largely unaware of the annual Plan and how it impacted upon their role. There's a general lack of understanding of the contents of Plans. Some documents commented it was unclear how the Plan has a bearing upon the work actually being undertaken. Some reasons for the lack of understanding are given, including; little consultation with staff at 'the coal face', the Plan being seen as 'management's document' or something which was undertaken by the Area Support Office.
7 Department Feedback Documents (44% of all Department documents) commented that there's little or no evidence of a structured approach to reviewing the annual Plan.
Evidence suggests that the links between individual objectives and the annual plan are not apparent to staff. Comments to this effect were made by 5 Areas and 7 Departments (50% of Feedback Documents)' (***** Police EFQM Corporate Feedback Report April 2002)
This position is not unusual to ***** and anecdotal evidence from other UK Forces suggests that the successful deployment of policy and strategy is commonly identified as an 'area for improvement'. Additionally research in the USA points to the difficulties in communicating and implementing strategy and policy. Weiss (1997) in a study of 'communication of innovation in policing' noted the problems found in implementing 'good practice' identified elsewhere. Highlighting the blockages caused by multi-layered and multi-functional public organisations, where 'rank and file' staff felt they were not engaged in decision making or contributing to policy and strategy development.
As described previously, the purpose of this research is to describe how national policy governing the police service, and local policy and strategy are translated into action by customer facing police and support staff.
Although there exist EFQM assessments of policy and strategy, there has been criticism that these assessments have not involved representatives of a wide range of geographical areas and departments and that, due to the context of these 'corporately driven' assessments, there has been a reluctance (or apathy) amongst some sections of the organisation.
Consequently this research will seek to increase understanding around the issue of strategy and policy deployment through an interpretative approach initially. This will involve focus groups and interviews with individuals across the organisation.
This will be followed up with a survey of the whole organisation (subject to return rate) on the key issues identified within the literature (i.e. leadership, communication, control and review) and issues identified during focus groups and interviews. In this way the author will seek to increase the currently limited empirical research and knowledge base around policy and strategy deployment.
As described previously within the 'person profile, suitability' the author has made a clear decision to adopt a dual approach to the research project. As Arbnor and Bjerke (1997) contend:
'You can never empirically or logically determine the best approach. This can only be done reflectively by considering a situation to be studied and you r own opinion of life. This also means that even if you believe that one approach is more interesting or rewarding than another, we as authors do not want to tank one above the other. In factâ€¦the only thing we can do is try to make explicit the special characteristics on which the various approaches are based'
Effectively what Arbnor and Bjerke are pointing to is that the question 'which method is best?' is not only about whether to use interviews, surveys or observations. Underpinning these research tools are more general philosophical questions about how we understand social reality, and what are the most appropriate ways of studying it.
As described within the 'person profile, suitability' the author has found to lean towards a positivist approach. By definition the researcher should therefore be objective and detached from the objects of research. The aims of the positivist are to offer explanations leading to control and predictability. Positivism is a very predominant way of knowing the social world; what Guba and Lincoln (1994) refer to as the 'received view'. In positivist research quantitative approaches that use statistics and experiments are seen as classic examples.
However, as also described previously the research author is endeavouring to present a more rounded picture and explore individual perceptions with regard to strategy and policy deployment in the organisation. In this respect the research process also draws on the interpretative perspective. Interpretivist approaches see interpretations of the social world as culturally derived and historically situated. This is often linked to the work of Max Weber (1864-1920) who suggested that social sciences in particular are concerned with verstehen (understanding).
At the start of 2003 individuals will be contacted from a variety of locations, departments and levels within the organisation and asked to volunteer to take part in focus groups. These focus group discussions will be taped and participants will be assured of confidentiality.
As described by George Boeree (Shippensburg University) 'when done in a phenomenological fashion, focus groups can be quite revealing. Unfortunately, focus groups are quite popular among researchers with strong ideological predispositions. Because of the dynamics of groups, if you discuss something that has great emotional meaning for you, it is quite likely that you will steer the group to express precisely what you had in mind. There are other pitfalls as well: Groups are often dominated by strong personalities; Groups can generate more emotion than any one individual might feel about the issue; Groups can focus in so tightly on one issue that they can't think of any others and so on. However, if the researcher is well-prepared and open-minded, focus groups are a good research tool. They are especially appropriate for beginning an investigation'
It is suggested here that tape-recording the focus groups discussions will enable the author and any research assistants to identify, during analysis after the groups, existence of any strong or overpowering personalities or over focus on specific issues. In order to ensure those involved feel free to speak we will ensure no individuals of 'differing levels' are involved in the same focus groups. In an attempt to reduce researcher bias a number of research assistants will be employed for different focus groups.
For useful discussion and articles (marketing based) on use of focus groups see http://www.mapnp.org/library/grp_skll/focusgrp/focusgrp.htm
In order to access as broad a range of individuals across the organisation as possible the author will include a number of senior officers in the initial stages. For reasons of practicality and anonymity these senior officers will be interviewed (as opposed to taking part in focus groups). It is hoped that in this way the individuals involved will not feel as guarded in terms of talking about how they see strategy and policy translated into action. Again to avoid researcher bias the author will seek to utilise a range of researchers for the interviews. Whilst it is clear that interviewer and interviewee need to establish an 'inter-subjective understanding', at the same time the pursuit of objectivity requires a 'distance' in order to socially situate the responses (Cicourel, 1964)
The semi-structured interview utilises techniques from both the focused and structured methods. Questions are normally specified but the interviewer is free to probe beyond the answers. The interviewer can also seek clarification and elaboration on answers given, and can then record qualitative information about the issues (Fielding, 1988b).
For both the focus group sessions and the interviews the key questions will be around the points highlighted in the EFQM Corporate Feedback and the generic issues around strategy and policy deployment from the literature. Therefore following a brief introduction from the author or research assistant the following questions will be raised followed by discussion and probing:
How do you see policy and strategy deployed within ***** Police?
The EFQM Corporate Feedback document highlighted several issues of concern around policy and strategy deployment - would you concur with this summary (summary provided in introduction)?
The key issues highlighted in research on policy and strategy deployment are leadership, communication, control and review, can you describe your views about the organisations approach to these?
Can you describe any ways you feel the organisation can improve strategy and policy deployment?
It is intended to keep the initial prompting questions very broad way in order to allow interviewees to develop the issues from their perspective or 'world view' (Yolles, 1999). As described earlier the purpose of this research is first to establish how the organisation sees strategy and policy deployment in practice.
Content Analysis and Multiple Sorting
Following transcription of the focus groups and interviews, this data will be 'content analysed' using a software package such as NUD*IST. The purpose of this stage of the analysis will be to draw out the main themes discussed and link several discussion threads to the main themes. The ultimate aim being to use this analysis to generate a series of survey questions. Again in an attempt to avoid researcher bias the author will carry out a 'multiple sorting procedure' (Canter et al, 1985) in order to confirm with some degree of objectivity the constructs (key themes) that are identified within the focus group and interview analysis.
Survey researchâ€¦is the method of collecting information by asking a set of pre-formulated questions in a predetermined sequence in a structured questionnaire to a sample of individuals drawn so as to be representative of a defined population. (Hutton, 1990)
In order to access the views of as many members of the organisation and to develop empirical knowledge of strategy and policy deployment, a survey will be distributed to everyone employed by ***** Police.
A series of statements about strategy and policy deployment generated through the analysis described above will be listed along side a 5-point Likert Scale (level of agreement). In order to encourage respondents and ensure a higher return rate this list of statements will be kept to a maximum of approximately 25, all questionnaires will include an addressed, seal-able return envelope, and confidentiality will be assured. As described in the literature review and problem outline one of the key issues impacting on strategy and policy deployment is organisational structure. For this reason the questionnaire will include demographic information on each respondent. This information should include respondent age, gender, length of service, grade/rank and department/area. This list of information may be increased following focus groups and interviews.
Two of the key issues identified within the literature in strategy and policy deployment are leadership and communication. For this reason the initial interviews and focus groups will endeavour to involve individuals from a wide range of departments and geographical areas (i.e. Police Areas or Basic Command Units) and from all levels within the organisation. To ensure this the author will adopt a stratified sampling approach a monitor the demographic information captured on each participant. In terms of the survey (developed following literature review and analysis of focus group/interview data) it is the authors intention to utilise the organisation's central Personnel system to 'mail-shot' every employee (approximately 6,000). In this respect a 'total population' is being targeted, however it is entirely probable that less than 50% submit a reply (this was found in most recent staff satisfaction survey). Therefore any analysis and interpretation of survey data will need to include reference to whether the responses are representative based on age, gender, role type, location, rank etc. As Coolican (1994) states:
'It is difficult to ensure that a sample is representative of the target population. In fact a truly representative sample is an abstract ideal which is unachievable in practice'
However, if we are honest about the final data set and examine demographic variables thoroughly it is possible to cope with the limitations of representative samples in generalising results. Also, in the current research project it should be possible to generalise, to some degree, to the police service generally as there are only 43 police forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The product of this research will be based on examination of the literature addressing the issue of 'policy and strategy deployment', analysis of transcribed focus groups and interviews and analysis of survey data. The analysis of survey data will be carried out using SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences), and will include general descriptive statistics regarding level or agreement with different statements and also inferential statistics identifying significant differences between responses on key questions between different groups differentiated using demographic information. Analysis will also include multivariate analysis to identify correlation's between particular groups of statements i.e. leadership or communication. This analysis will be carried out using HOMALS techniques in SPSS and LifaÂ© (Liverpool Interactive Facet Analysis) developed by the University of Liverpool Centre for Investigative Psychology.
The key issues for the researcher in this case are protection of the organisation and protection of the individuals who agree to take part in the research. For the former the researcher must consider the sensitivity to the organisation and its image/reputation should the research highlight any fundamental issues that impact on organisational performance. It is for this reason that the 'project plan' (see appendix 1) highlights the necessity to seek Chief Officer agreement in addition to line management agreement to carry out the research. For the later it is essential that participants are reassured that for focus groups/interviews all views expressed will be confidential and that in no circumstances will their details be revealed to any other individuals within the organisation. Additionally all surveys will be completed anonymously and returned by internal mail. To cover these issues the researcher will produce a contract for the organisation to cover disclosure issues and potential for any publication of results in future journal submissions. Individual contracts will also be drawn up and copied to all those who agree to take part in focus groups/interviews to explain the confidentiality issues. A letter will also been attached to every survey explaining the purpose of the research and issues around anonymity and confidentiality.
As described previously there is the potential for the researcher as part of the organisation to affect the outcome of the research. As described in the methods section several techniques will be used throughout the process to lessen the effects of researcher bias, not least of which is the adoption of a mixed methods approach.
Another potential limitation is that it could be argued that results found here will not be generalisable to other police forces or similar public organisations because of the nature and size of ***** Police. As the research progresses consideration may be given to the inclusion of survey data from one of the local 'shire' Forces to compliment and contrast the ***** data.
Finally, with regard to the survey, although efforts will be made to market the research and a letter will be included with the survey explaining the purpose of the research, there is no guarantee that a representative sample of respondents will complete the survey. As with other surveys this may be seen by the 'rank and file' as another business analysis tool that only serves to provide senior management with information, knowledge and 'ammunition'. Every effort will be made to encourage respondents to complete the survey and the author will contact all union and staff association representatives prior to commencing the research project in early 2003.
As noted previously unlike aspects such as quality management systems and statistical process control, few academics have examined the use of strategy and policy deployment to deliver quality improvements and business results (Calingo, 1996). Similarly, Lee and Dale (1998) found using comprehensive Journal search engine that only a handful of papers focused on 'strategy or policy deployment'. Also outside of in-direct references to the EFQM Business Excellence Model a search on the Emerald search engine revealed only two papers that included policy or strategy deployment within title or key word and only a handful of papers with policy or strategy implementation within title or key word. It is also clear from brief discussions with a number of senior officers and managers, of long experience, within ***** Police, that there is a large void in our understanding of how strategy and policy is communicated, translated into activity, and audited.
Recipient (customer) of Research
As noted previously the initial sponsor for this research is ***** Police Force Information Manager (line manager to the author of the research). The findings will be submitted as part of a dissertation for an MBA at John Moores - Liverpool Business School. However, as described above there is a potential for this research to greatly increase understanding at all levels within the organisation about strategy and policy deployment issues. Not least of which will be the senior officer group, those involved in sponsoring the annual EFQM assessments, and all those currently involved in the annual policing plan process. Additionally, should review of the literature and analysis here lead to recommendations focused on improving strategy and policy deployment, this should be of interest to all members of the organisation and there may be scope for links with training and organisational induction
Time, Cost and Project Management
A draft project plan is presented in Appendix 1 (produced using Microsoft Project). The potential costs in terms of research assistants, setting up focus groups/interview, transcribing interviews, printing surveys letters and envelopes, use of SPSS software and any opportunity costs will all be met out of the organisations budget. Any specific costs will be agreed by the research author in agreement with their line manager out of Information Systems Department budget.