Few studies examine whistle-blowing from an organization's self-regulating perspective. The LAPD is one of the few municipal agencies that offer its employees 8 or more misconduct reporting avenues to choose from. Yet, despite this large number of resources, many police officers have opted to file civil lawsuits rather than utilize internal resources to resolve reports of specific types of misconduct. A total of 131 sergeants, detectives, lieutenants, captains and commanders were surveyed in 2009 regarding their likelihood of reporting specific types of organizational misconduct to any one of the internal departmental resources provided. Findings revealed 65% of the police officers were likely to report any 1 of 8 specific types of misconduct allegations to department supervisors, as opposed to any of the more specialized internal investigative options. Over 70% of the officers were likely to report sexual harassment, hostile work environment allegations and receiving disparate treatment due to having a work related disability, to their chain of command. Lesser known specialized resources were reported as the least likely to be used. Reasons reported by respondents for not using internal resource options included a lack of trust or confidence in unknown resources, fear of backlash from peers, or that they simply preferred a less time consuming investigative process. The study also examined the perceived impacts associated with reporting misconduct. Alienation or silent treatment by peers and harsh treatment by co-workers were rated as the most likely impacts of reporting misconduct. The high percentage of police officers who are willing to report misconduct through the LAPD's chain of command is significant in that it assures management that mid level supervisors may have the influential power needed to improve the internal reporting misconduct complaints, enhance compliance with employment discrimination laws, and lessen the incidents of employees preferring external options to report misconduct. Recommendations for enhancing LAPD resource options for employees include limiting the number of resources for reports of employment discrimination to one specialized unit, enhancing training for supervisors, periodic quality service audits of reporting resources to determine their effectiveness, and external LAPD oversight of the reporting and investigation of discrimination allegations.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Business administration -- Management; Sociology, Industrial and Labor Relations -- Code of Silence; Los Angeles Police Department -- Retaliation; Dissertations (EdD) -- Organization change; Whistle blowing

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Davis, Kay D.;