Information-Sharing Networks


ABSTRACT A major change in longstanding police organizational behavior is increasingly evident in the recent emergence of computerized information-sharing networks in public safety. From both theoretical and empirical perspectives, a better understanding of the determinants that can explain and predict the rise and growth of this new and significant development in American policing is needed. A highly limited body of empirical studies has endeavored to validate effective predictors of adoption and utilization of electronic information-sharing networks by local law enforcement agencies. Utilizing an integrated theoretical framework largely built upon Rogers' diffusion of innovations theory, sixteen hypotheses were tested through logistic regression and multiple regression analyses of survey research data collected from local law enforcement executives in the three states of California, New York, and Georgia. Qualitative research organized and conducted through targeted telephone interviews with twenty law enforcement executives across the three study states and with responses to open ended questions within the study survey instrument aided in the examination of these hypotheses. 66.7% of the cases of agency adoption of information sharing were correctly classified by the predictors within the logistic regression model. Adoption was positively influenced by a chief executive who demonstrated strong leadership and possessed more extensive experience in law enforcement. Adoption was negatively affected by increasing the opportunity to experiment with this innovation and advancing age of the chief executive. Both quantitative and qualitative findings confirmed that law enforcement agencies that exhibited dedicated leadership are more likely to adopt information-sharing networks. 19.4-25.9% of the variation in the outcome variable of adoption was explained by the predictors within the logistic regression model. Utilization was negatively impacted by growing autonomy of police organizations within the network but benefited from innovation attributes such as the acquisition of an advantage in crime fighting capabilities and reduced complexity in employment of the information-sharing network. 9.1% of the variation in utilization of information-sharing networks could be explained by the predictor variables included within the multiple regression model. Qualitative research also cross-validated the positive effect of gaining an advantage over the criminal element as influential to utilization. A greater advantage in preventing and solving crimes, higher levels of inter-organizational trust between police agencies, and enthusiastic executive leadership were found by the qualitative inquiry to enhance both adoption and utilization. Knowing in advance which theoretically informed and empirically validated antecedents can facilitate or impede adoption and utilization of information integration networks could enable policymakers and law enforcement administrators to optimize strategies to attain successful outcomes.


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Graduation Date





Martin, Lawrence


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Health and Public Affairs

Degree Program

Public Affairs








Release Date

December 2007

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)