Cultural Diversity in Police Organizations: A Quantitative Study between Two Generations of Recruits at the Rio Grande Do Norte State Police


Managing multicultural teams is a contemporary challenge either in public, private, international, or domestic firms. Leading or working with individuals with diverse cultural backgrounds can be a risk, but an opportunity, though, especially in Brazil, a gigantic multicultural country whose people’s diversity is often treated carelessly. This project investigated whether the cultural differences between two generations of Police Officers in one of Brazil’s State Police Organization are relevant and deserve special measures of Human Resources Management. Through quantitative methods, an experiment with 349 participants was performed using the Value Survey Module (VSM), a cultural dimensions framework devised by Hofstede. Two groups have been compared, namely, recruits undertaking the basic police course and sworn officers with ten years of police service. Relevant cultural differences were identified in four cultural dimensions, namely, Power Distance, Individualism vs. Collectivism, Uncertainty Avoidance, and Long-term Orientation indexes. Based on this, urgent Human Resources-related measures are necessary to integrate culturally diverse team members and foster cooperation instead of competition. Moreover, this study offers recommendations to improve the professionalism of the Law Enforcement Agency and its community-oriented service.

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Montenegro, M. and Papasava, A. (2023) Cultural Diversity in Police Organizations: A Quantitative Study between Two Generations of Recruits at the Rio Grande Do Norte State Police. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 11, 138-163. doi: 10.4236/jss.2023.113010.

1. Introduction

The pursuit of the comprehension of the concept of culture has progressed with humanity. Philosophers, anthropologists, and psychologists have embraced that mission and found that culture and personality were interdependent concepts (Hofstede & McCrae, 2004) . In the second half of the twentieth century, due to the demand for stronger and more reliable cooperation amongst employees from firms in the international scenario, scholars broke down the study of concepts and culture and acknowledged a more dedicated study underpinned by systematic and quantitative information (Hofstede & McCrae, 2004) . Hereof, cultural dimensions across societies have been identified (Dickson et al., 2012; Lückmann & Färber, 2016) . The authors point out that societal culture can be defined as the collective values, beliefs, and traditions that distinguish certain groups of human beings acquired over time. Moreover, Hofstede’s (2000) well-accepted arguments teach that culture is collective, behavior-oriented, communal to many people, but not everyone. In their turn, Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner (1998) note that people of a given society share historical facts and naturally embody common attitudes. Conclusively, culture is the grouping of beliefs, values, perceptions, behaviors, traditions and social rules inherent to a collective of people who share life in a community over time.

Identifying, understanding and managing the employees’ culture have become a frequent demand in companies in search of competitive advantage (Hung et al., 2022) . This study explores scholarly sources regarding cultural diversity and compares two groups of Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) from the same police organization in Brazil, considering their year of recruitment. To do so, the research uses the pre-formatted questionnaire, which is available for research purposes, to collect quantitative data in a population of more than 2000 possible participants and obtain a systematic result from a large sample.

2. Literature Review

2.1. Conceptualizing Culture

Costa et al. (2013) add that the etymological origin of culture comes from the Latin verb “colere”, whose function was to describe the way of cultivation, creation, and care that primitive men had with a given asset (e.g. land, cattle, and farming). In this regard, the concept of culture developed as the “cultivation” of the natural behaviors of human beings in each society to educate them to become members of that society. According to Costa et al. (2013) , over the years, culture acquired the guise of enhancing and refining the natural qualities of men so that they could cohabit and live harmoniously as members of civilization. Thus, culture came to signify the expression of human outputs in a civilization. Furthermore, the relationship that socially organized men and women establish over time, space, and with other individuals (Costa et al., 2013) .

2.2. Multiculturalism in Brazil

Brazil’s written history begins in the 1500s. Navigations led by the Portuguese Empire thrived to cross the ocean. Initial contacts have been performed with indigenous communities alongside the colonization run by the Europeans, which demanded supplementary Africans from the slavery campaign (Chachá et al., 2017) . Internal clashes involving either resisting indigenous or sectary slaves who fought for liberty marked the development of Brazil’s early years (Miki, 2014) .

After the country’s independence, domestic clashes persisted in Brazil until the proclamation of the republic (Mosher, 2005) . It is in this assortment miscegenation, that the Brazilian population had been formed.

Notwithstanding, during the 18th and 20th centuries, many wars broke out in the world. Consequently, refugees encountered safe grounds while flowing to South America. Whereas hundreds of migrants moved to Brazil to ground their communities (de Carvalho Filho & Monasterio, 2012) , Brazilian society decided to abolish slavery (Chachá et al., 2017) .

Then, Brazil became a multicultural nation (Hofstede et al., 2010) the 5th in size (CIA, 2020) , consisting of 27 country-sized (Souza, 2015) states. Its heterogeneous population of 210,147,125 individuals (IBGE, 2020) upholds characteristics from various ethnic ancestors (Chachá et al., 2017) . According to IBGE (2020) , Brazil is divided into five regions. The Northern Region is crossed by the equator line and is recognized abroad for the importance of the Amazon Forest and River (Hofstede et al., 2010) . The Midwestern Region includes the Federal Capital, where the three highest levels of State Powers are found (Hofstede et al., 2010) . The Southern and Southeastern Regions’ ethnic ancestry derives mostly from European migration (de Carvalho Filho & Monasterio, 2012) . The three most populous States belong there (IBGE, 2020) and the regions possess a substantial GDP portion per capita of the country (Chachá et al., 2017) . The Northeastern Region contains nine states where 40% of the population is living. African ascendancies are often identified (Hofstede et al., 2010) .

As observed, there is not a consolidated culture in the largest country in South America. Due to its continental dimension and the historical construction process in the last 700 - 600 years, the country presents significant cultural variations spread throughout the national territory. Naturally, public service positions in Brazil are filled through a national application process by individuals coming from various regions, who consequently bring their traditional values, beliefs, religion, and cultural practices. In police institutions, the large number of employees with varied backgrounds makes social interactions an even greater challenge. The analysis of these interactions between people from different cultures within a single institution is utterly interesting and the results obtained by such a survey can help to mitigate social conflicts between employees and strengthen the provision of the public security service.

2.3. PMRN

The Brazilian Constitution defines the internal security system (Brasil, 1988) . At the national level, the Federal Police (PF) is responsible for the investigation of complex, transnational, and organized crimes (Greco, 2020) . At the state level, two policing institutions exist (Garmany, 2014) . First, the judiciary police are responsible for crime investigation and the uniformed police, responsible for crime prevention (Soares & Viveiros, 2017; Skogan, 2013) . Each state has one Uniformed Police, military in character, which is responsible for policing and public order in urban and rural areas (Greco, 2020) . PMRN, a 186-year-old public institution, is one instance of such institutions. It has about 8 thousand Officers distributed in 167 municipalities (de Lima Dantas, 2010) .

2.4. Defining Culture for Business

Modern studies in the area of Business and Administration (Dickson et al., 2012; Lückmann & Färber, 2016; Hofstede, 2000; Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner, 1998) support that culture is values, beliefs, and traditions belonging to a group of individuals which distinguishes them from one another. It comes from the social interactions between participants of this group along with generations. Therefore, members of each community, while sharing the same experiences over time, are likely to incorporate common attitudes. While companies acknowledged culture as an inseparable factor of their employees, managing multicultural teams became a contemporary challenge for project management.

Nowadays, managing staff with different cultural backgrounds became almost a rule. Modern authors (Abdullah et al., 2012; Dickson et al., 2012; Fine, 1996; Lückmann & Färber, 2016; Schullery, 2013; Wong et al., 2008) argue that it is increasingly common to have business teams composed of members from different cultures. According to the authors, knowing and identifying these differences and, hence, applying team management techniques oriented to cultural differences is a condition of competitive advantage.

Notwithstanding, it is important to differentiate culture into two topics of management research. First societal culture, as referred to above, consists of shared values between individuals from a certain period, when grouped as human beings. Then, the second, organizational culture refers to values, beliefs, perceptions, and behavioral attitudes shared amongst employees for a certain organization (Tsai, 2011; Shahzad et al., 2012) . Schein (2009) points out that organizational culture is shared assumptions acquired by a working group while thriving challenges faced by the organization. Solid cultures are formed when such characteristics are accepted and performed by several people (Shahzad et al., 2012) .

In this regard, PMRN’s organizational culture is centralized and highly dependent on the hierarchized administration, which indicates the power culture taught by Handy’s (2007) lessons. Costa et al. (2013) suggest that the organizational culture of public institutions in Brazil is characterized by being highly bureaucratic. Besides, public institutions generally have centralized power in senior officials, fully supported by a paternalistic approach. Moreover, political interference and discontinuity are identified. The authors point out a strong connection to the rules and routines, the overvaluation of the hierarchy, paternalism in relationships, and attachment to power.

2.5. Cultural Dimensions Theories

Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck (1961) and Parsons and Shils (1951) are the overarching scholarly sources for the cultural dimensions theory. They have found value-oriented clusters to classify culture. However, such assumptions did not have the support of empirical research (Hofstede & McCrae, 2004) . Further, scholars failed to link cultural traits and nationality, although it was a gap to fill (Barkley & Eggertsson, 2017) .

From the 70s onwards, many researchers have struggled to establish theory in the same regard and address the requirements of cross-national team managers. In 1994, Shalom Schwartz performed his survey in the education industry (Hofstede, 2013) . Trompenaar’s and Hampden-Turner’s (1998) studies found seven dimensions to classify cultural traits based on the individual’s preferences. McCrae (2002) has researched the Five-Factor Model in English-speaking countries, as a methodology to identify culture based on the personality traits, present to some degree, in all individuals. House et al. (2002) have implemented an extensive research in several industries and examined national culture in nine dimensions to identify leadership attributes.

In the end of the 70’s, according to Orr and Hauser (2008) , Hofstede performed a study with 117,000 questionnaires, using employees registered in the IBM database, a multi-national firm with 40 subsidiaries with employees from 50 different nationalities, to find that individuals grouped themselves regarding some attitudes, values and beliefs (Hofstede, 1980) . As a result of daily cohabiting, individuals developed common “mental programs” which “contain a component of national culture” (Orr & Hauser, 2008: p. 2) . Then, his questionnaire, known as Value Survey Module (VSM), has been administered to identify dominant values in individuals according to their respective nationality (Hofstede, 2013) . Based on his primary studies, the results identified four dimensions scoring on a scale from 0 to 100 each.

Power Distance Index (PDI) refers to the extent to which the minor members of a community react to the unequal concentration of power. Societies with High PDI have members used to unequal/hierarchical distribution of authority (Hofstede, 1991) . Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI) in the business environment, for instance, measures how intolerant are the employees regarding ambiguity and uncertainty. Scoring high in UAI signifies that a group of people put more value on planning, and creating rules and regulations; contrarywise, low UAI scores indicate less sense of urgency and a tendency to improvise (Hofstede, 1991) . Individualism versus Collectivism (IDV) denotes how people are integrated or segregated into groups. A high score of IDV means less value on human relationships (Hofstede, 1991) . High Masculinity versus Femininity (MAS) index implies a society that values decisiveness, strong egos and competitiveness; on the other hand, a low score on MAS indicates a society concerned about the quality of life, modesty and caring (Hofstede, 1991) .

Hofstede’s dimensions of culture got fully reviewed (Orr & Hauser, 2008) . Furthermore, Hofstede, accompanied by the researchers Michael Harris Bond and Michael Minkov, has delved additionally into his studies and identified the fifth (Hofstede, 1991; Hofstede & Minkov, 2010) and the sixth (Hofstede, 2011) cultural dimensions. Long- versus Short-Term Orientation (LTO) refers to the time horizon focused on by one society. While long-term oriented people tend to focus on the future and thrift, short-term oriented individuals value the past, present and traditions (Barkley & Eggertsson, 2017) . Indulgence versus Restraint (IVR) suggests the ability of a population to deal with the consequences of an action. Indulgent societies are likely to expect a quick return of their efforts, while restrained cultures place value on controlled behavior over human aspirations (Barkley & Eggertsson, 2017) .

Within the academic research community, there are sound criticisms of Hofstede’s theory. McSweeney (2002: p. 4) advocates the view that it is “implicit; core; systematically causal; territorially unique; and shared”. During the research, he uses five assumptions to challenge the methodology adopted by Hofstede as a problematic result that brought limited comprehension of culture. Alternatively, McSweeney suggests that theories with an approach that can cope with the complexity of the individual being would bring adequate findings.

In contrast, Williamson (2002) observes room for considerations related to Hofstede’s work, but he disrupts McSweeney’s study by pointing out that the latter fails to apply arguments in the functionalist paradigm. Williamson supports Hofstede’s work remains a significant contribution to the academy and must be challenged in the interpretive paradigm.

According to Orr and Hauser (2008) , Hofstede’s theory has been misused and misinterpreted. Perhaps due to its great recognition, it has even been repeated without questioning the results. They point out temporality, sampling, and ethnocentrism as limitations to the theory. Further, they argue that the theory has emerged empirically, instead of theoretically. The authors strongly suggest Hofstede’s contribution should be re-examined and re-defined by future studies.

It is possible to see the theory developed by Hofstede as simplistic. The understanding of cultural factors in human beings demands a holistic approach following complex social sciences, which go beyond this simple classification in six aspects as a summation of responses based on mathematical indexes.

Even so, despite the observations of the academics mentioned, this work will persist in the application of Hofstede’s theory as it answers the selected research question, namely, what is the difference regarding the cultural background of police recruits and sworn officers with 10 years of service, at PMRN? The authors established a theory of simple applicability that brings results capable of understanding how a certain group of people is organized in relation to their values, beliefs, and behaviors. Thus, leaders will have subsidies to adopt a Human Resources management policy that is suitable for a given enterprise. Nevertheless, there is the possibility of applying this theory in a context different from previous applications and, possibly, establishing new results that can be significant contributions to the study of cultural dimensions or national culture.

According to recent research using Google Scholar, Hofstede’s (1980) book is cited in almost 60.000 sources. Recent studies have endorsed that Hofstede’s contribution is still a strong cornerstone of the cultural dimension theory, serving either the academy or the industry regarding effectively managing culturally diverse teams (Barkley & Eggertsson, 2017) .

2.6. Research Gaps

Although Hofstede’s theory is not set out to identify cultural differences between professionals from the same country (Hofstede & McCrae, 2004) , countries of significant territorial extension and which underwent aggressive colonization and immigration do not have a culture homogeneously distributed among their inhabitants (Hofstede et al., 2010) . Brazil is one of these countries highly diverse in geography, climate, vegetation, language, economy, gastronomy, music, and religion.

Previous research underpinned by Hofstede’s theory (Caetano, 2003; Hilal, 2002; Tanure, 2002) has been applied in Brazil and identified cultural differences between the five regions. Their findings have been consolidated in an article (Hofstede et al., 2010) which did confirm significant differences between individuals raised in different regions of the country. Nevertheless, the three mentioned studies have been focused on the southern part of the country. Based on this, the present work finds a branch of theory that is under development and needs contributions. In addition, a clear objective for assessing the theory in a context different from other past assessments. Replication of works is opportunity to review theories (Orr & Hauser, 2008) .

Furthermore, in modern society, there is an urgent demand for the understanding of police institutions and solid actions that compels policing institutions to be more democratic, accountable, representative, responsive, and oriented to the community requirements. The United Nations Security Council Resolution 1183 strongly supports this statement through its efforts worldwide to transform internal security institutions (United Nations, 2018) . The chaotic scenario of public security in Brazil, as shown in (Greco, 2020) , presents itself as an urgent demand for science-oriented change interventions.

PMRN counts 186 years of existence (de Lima Dantas, 2010) . It is shameful that such a centenary institution has so few academic studies therein, especially in the English language. One of the few sources available, Costa et al. (2013) , briefly discusses the organizational culture at the Non-Commissioned Officers Training Center (CFAPM). That said, this study aims in fostering a more professional approach to Human Resources Management in PMRN by providing decision-makers with technical information regarding the cultural dimensions of its staff.

2.7. Research Objectives Related to the Gaps

In 2020, after ten years without recruitment and selection, PMRN finally coped to integrate a new group of recruits. With this time gap, it is maybe natural that two generations clash. This fact is fueled by the speed at which information circulates nowadays. Hence, values and beliefs transform within generations quicker than before.

It is worth noting that the country’s economic development, along with globalization, has allowed for greater mobility between cities and states in Brazil. Sukanya (2015) points out that companies need to understand and readapt their Human Resources Management due to globalization. According to the authors, it is pushing forward the need to manage multicultural teams, even within the same country. According to the new Police Officers’ registry in PMRN, considering the 1053 candidates taking the basic course, only 57% are from Rio Grande do Norte. Because of the above, PMRN is increasingly subject to applicants from other regions and states in Brazil. Moreover, the current application process required a bachelor’s degree or equivalent for recruits, while previous processes required only a high school degree.

Analyzing this volatile scenario, we believe there is a growing concern regarding a potential shock between sworn officers and recruits. Sukanya (2015) supports that human beings are valuable resources in any organization and managing them properly can avoid misunderstandings and low effectiveness.

Therefore, the objectives of the study envision to identify the cultural dimensions within the PMRN Staff and whether there are differences between the two evaluated generations of Police Officers. Furthermore, provide information and add value to PMRN’s strategic level to manage its Human Resources following the companies’ trend to devote efforts to better manage multicultural teams (Sukanya, 2015) .

3. Research Design

3.1. A Quantitative Study

The research methods should be appropriate to address the RQ (Easterby Smith et al., 2015) . Furthermore, this research will be underpinned by the deductive research approach as it will devise knowledge from theory. However, it is worth mentioning that such existing theories (Hofstede, 2000; House et al., 2004; Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner, 1998) are going to be analyzed whether they sustain in another scenario, namely, Brazil, Rio Grande do Norte State (Easterby-Smith et al., 2015) .

Quantitative research fits better because the proposed study will gather data from hundreds of employees and offer generalized macro conclusions regarding PMRN’s HR (Basias & Pollalis, 2018) . The authors add that among its strengths, it addresses the need for systematic and standardized comparisons. Therefore, the police institution may benefit from the validated study findings to provide arguments for decision-makers to nurture investments whose fund requests will be sounder. Quantitative methods may respond to what is the difference regarding the cultural background of Police Recruits and sworn Officers with 10 years of service, at PMRN.

3.2. Sample Size

In Easterby-Smith et al. (2015) lessons, a stratified random sampling strategy has been selected to address the envisioned plans for the research. From a total population of 7955 Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) employed at PMRN, two homogeneous groups were selected and previously classified in this work. Respondents belonging to these strata are all NCOs belonging to the equivalent hierarchical level in the same institution. Except for this criterion of equality, some aspects distinguish them: gender, age, educational level, state of origin, the experience of service at PMRN and, most likely, cultural background. Thus, both strata had, at the time of the research, about 1000 participants each. To ensure representativeness, all potential participants had the same opportunity to take part in the survey. Out of the 2000 employees who fit the survey’s requirements, 349 undertook the questionnaire (17 percent). Easterby-Smith et al. (2015) classify this sampling as inferential when low-biased results can conclude the entire population. Moreover, it entails an attempt to prove hypotheses, having one dependent variable that is affected by one predictor variable. In the current research, the latter corresponds to the participant’s culture and the former to his or her generation.

3.3. Data Analysis

All the twenty-four questions of the VSM count with answers graded from 1 to 5. Each question’s results come from the average of the responses of the participants. The final rates for each dimension follow pre-defined formulas according to Table 1. Thus, “average01” means the arithmetic average from all answers obtained in the first question. In this regard, the total number of respondents should be parted by generation. First, employees with more than 10 years of service and, second, newly hired police officers. Both groups will have their respective score for each of the six dimensions.

Table 1. Formulas for scoring in the VSM (Souza, 2015) .

Results have been collated in the spreadsheet software available to the researchers. Likewise, the calculations of the averages of each answer and the graphs displayed in the survey were also produced by the mentioned software.

3.4. Research Limitations

Nonetheless, whereas qualitative research devises findings from human impressions and experiences, quantitative experimentations do not provide the respondent with the possibility of explaining or developing further (McLeod, 2019) . In this regard, quantitative methods might overlook subtle details present in descriptive responses. Likewise, McLeod (2019) alerts that inexperienced researchers may misuse statistical methods and negatively impact the research analysis and consequently its findings.

4. Analysis of Data

4.1. Demographic Analysis

Among the 349 responses, 120 individuals declared themselves as sworn officers against 229 respondents who identified themselves as police recruits (See Figure 1 and Figure 2).

Observing Figure 1 and Figure 2, only 6.87% of the participants said they were from the female segment, all of them belonging to the recruits’ group. This fact may seem significant and represents a biased survey. However, it only reflects the PMRN’s HR reality, once the female quota represents less than 10% of the PMRN’s total staff. It should be noted that the recruitment carried out ten years ago, did not include female police officers. Likewise, police work in Brazil is still a male-dominant service, where women struggle to perform their activities, as seen in Ostermann’s (2003) article. Therefore, among available careers, Brazilian women generally look after another path.

Regarding age, Figure 3 and Figure 4 display an obvious deduction. As the research aims in analyzing the differences between two groups separated by years of service in the PMRN, the first group is composed of 99% of young individuals (34 years old or less), while the group of sworn police officers has 76% of respondents over 35 years of age.

Figure 1. Police recruits gender.

Figure 2. Sworn police officers gender.

Figure 3. Police recruits age.

Figure 4. Sworn police officers age.

The participants’ birth state, identified in Figure 5 and Figure 6, also showed a significant variation between generations. Within the group of recruit respondents, 43% are not from Rio Grande do Norte State, while in the group of senior police officers, this number is equal to 25%. Meaning that the group of police recruits is more diverse than the first. This fact lights up an alert of the possible confirmation of Hofstede’s et al. (2010) findings, which identified cultural differences between Brazilians from different regions of the country.

The last sampling’s demographic data is shown in Figure 7 and Figure 8. It displays the most relevant difference between the two groups. Whereas 100% of recruits have at least some university degrees, 85% of sworn police officers have finished their studies at High School. It is important to note that the last recruitment for police officers in PMRN required a 1st-level degree diploma or higher. Besides, Brazilian superior education considers a Postgraduate degree as a level between masters and a basic university degree.

Figure 5. Police recruits state of origin.

Figure 6. Sworn police officers state of origin.

Figure 7. Police recruits educational level.

Figure 8. Sworn police officers educational level.

4.2. General Results

Once acknowledged the two groups of participants involved in the research, their answers to the VSM scored in six dimensions are exhibited in Table 2 with the graphical support of Figure 9. There were no invalid answers, that is, the participants did not leave blank fields or checked more than one alternative per question. The results for each dimension have been calculated through the formulas made explicit in Table 1.

In general, the results obtained do not demonstrate a relevant disparity between dimensions for the two generations of state police. As noted by Hofstede and McCrae (2014) , when considering individuals belonging to the same country, cultural dimensions scores tend to remain close to each other. Nevertheless, it is possible to identify some dimensions whose results are not close. In the following section, the results for each dimension will be discussed (See Figure 9).

4.3. Results Analysis

The PDI analyzes how individuals in a group react to the concentration of power. Scoring high in PDI, means that the members of that assessed community prefer to live in a system where the distribution of power is unequal (Hofstede, 1991) . Before touching the values obtained by each group of respondents, it is important to note that the PMRN, as well as other State Police organizations in Brazil, is recognized as a hierarchical institution, military in character, strictly controlled by internal regulations (Greco, 2020) . Therefore, applicants who wish to join this institution must previously acknowledge its organizational culture and work well with the concentration of power and multiple levels of hierarchy. Thus, the results obtained in the current research, naturally reflected that both groups analyzed obtained high values for the PDI. However, when evaluating the PDI scores, available graphically in Figure 10, the index for recruits scored double considering the index of sworn police officers.

Table 2. Answers to the VSM calculated.

Figure 9. Graphic layout of results.

Figure 10. PDI Scores.

The IDV index assesses how individualistic a group of people can be considered (Hofstede, 1991) . Societies with high IDV are made up of people who value human relations little. Individualistic people, in Hofstede’s (1991) theory, look after themselves and their inner family circle only. On the other hand, a low IDV index means that such society is used to looking after their group with unquestionable loyalty in exchange for equal protection (Anbari et al., 2004) . In the current survey, although both groups analyzed scores low in the IDV index, participants in the group of police recruits obtained a score ten times higher than the one of senior police officers (Figure 11).

Next, the analysis of the MAS index is exposed in Figure 12, which lists the values stigmatized by patriarchy as male values, among them, assertiveness, strong egos, and competitiveness for high MAS indexed societies. On the other hand, the low values of MAS indicate a prejudiced, feminine society, which values modesty and care (Hofstede, 1991) . Although Figure 12 demonstrates a similarity in the results obtained, it is still possible to identify diversity in the scores between recruits and sworn police officers. The former scored around half the latter. Yet, both groups analyzed were slightly above zero for this index, which indicates a greater tendency towards more feminist thinking, concerned with well-being, quality of life and care for one another.

Figure 11. IDV Scores.

Figure 12. MAS Scores.

In turn, UAI indicates how threatened individuals in a group feel due to ambiguous, uncertain and unknown situations (Hofstede, 1991) . Nations with high UAI feel more comfortable with planned and controlled rather than unexpected situations. In this regard, Greece, Portugal and Guatemala scored high in UAI (Anbari et al., 2004) . Observing the values obtained through the calculations contained in Table 2, this research reached negative numbers for the UAI. With the support of Hofstede (2015) , it was possible to understand that this index varies between 0 and 100, with values close to zero considered low UAI and scores distant from zero considered high UAI. Thus, the groups surveyed did not differ the general value obtained for the 27 Brazilian states, as seen in Hilal (2002) , who indicates 45 as UAI score. In the current study, recruits scored 75 and senior officers 55. Thus, although a slight difference is identified in terms of attitude towards uncertainty, individuals from both groups feel uncomfortable when subjected to situations of this type and prefer to control and plan as shown in Figure 13.

The LTO index measures the orientation of members of a given society towards time. A high LTO index in a society means that its members have the perseverance to await the return of their expectations (Anbari et al., 2004) . In contrast, the low LTO index values stability and traditions (Huang & Crotts, 2019) . Short-term societies are proud of their culture, whereas long-term societies learn from other countries. There is a trap in short-term societies since traditions can be so valued that harmful exacerbated fundamentalism is fueled by political or religious ideologies. The current research obtained low results for LTO for both groups as seen in Figure 14, with an emphasis on the group of police recruits, whose score approached zero, while senior police officers scored 17.3.

Indulgent societies foster the freedom of individuals to seek pleasure and fun. Moreover, the free gratification of basic and human desires. On the other hand, restrained societies suppress basic desires by allowing strong regulations and social norms to limit this satisfaction (Hofstede, 2011) . A high IVR index means that a certain group is indulgence oriented while a low IVR index characterizes a group as restrained. In the present study, both groups scored close to balance with the graphical representation in Figure 15. Whereas police recruits scored 53, senior officers scored 43.

Figure 13. UAI Scores.

Figure 14. LTO Scores.

Figure 15. IVR Scores.

4.4. Research Findings

The difference identified in the PDI for the two generations of police officers denotes that junior police officers are more adapted to the PMRN’s organizational culture. Also, their interest and commitment to joining the police force make them disregard any resistance to the concentration of power. On the other hand, it is also possible to understand that the acceptance by senior police officers towards the hierarchical system with strict regulations has been eroded with the passing of years.

The disparity in values between the IDV indices can be explained by the difference in social classes of the two generations of participants. Hofstede et al. (2010) argue that wealthier societies tend to score higher on the IDV index. Historically, people with a low educational level, belonging to the lower social classes, sought admission to the PMRN (de Lima Dantas, 2010) . Nowadays, with the increase of competition for jobs in the public system, added to the requirement of a university education level, the candidates for the position of Police Officer are from a higher social class. Hence, recruits scored ten times higher than senior officers in IDV.

The low MAS index identified through this research’s instrument, according to the literature, is possibly linked to the fact that Northeast Brazil was populated by people of African origin brought as slaves during the early years of European domination in the South American continent. The work performed by Hofstede et al. (2010) advocates the view that countries with Afro cultures usually score low in the MAS index. They have identified high MAS rates between the northern and southern regions of Brazil that had, respectively, colonization with a greater presence of Indians and peoples of German descent. Besides, as previously mentioned, only 6.87% of the survey participants were female. Due to the low relative quantity of the female segment, one cannot indicate that the presence of female candidates in the group of recruits changed the trend of the MAS index. However, it is worth noting that 93% of respondents are male and, thus, one could expect that MAS rates would be high, which did not happen.

As seen in the results section above, the analyzed groups did not differ from the Brazilian profile concerning the UAI index, as seen in Hilal (2002) . The group of recruits, possibly motivated by the required academic level, is more likely to avoid uncertainties. In turn, the group of senior police officers is balanced between uncertainty avoidance and acceptance. Hofstede (2015) argues that the UAI index is not about risk. Instead, he posits that the UAI index is related to stress, aggression, emotions and anxiety. Further, uncertainty-avoidance societies are marked by stress and anxiety, while in uncertainty-accepting societies life is acknowledged as it is. Brazilian society embodies both feelings and that is why the group of senior officers analyzed scored accordingly.

As mentioned earlier in this chapter, a low LTO index implies value on past and present, instead of future orientation (Huang & Crotts, 2019) . The results related to the LTO index obtained by this research demonstrate that both groups analyzed strongly value Brazilian national traditions and values. The result obtained by the group of recruits leaves this statement even more latent. It should be noted that this index was specifically influenced by the respondents’ profession. Members of the police and military forces around the world are generally fostered by a patriotic ideology and work to maintain the state of order in which things are. Nonetheless, long-term orientation is most identified in mature individuals, and perhaps that is the reason why the LTO index of senior officers has shown a variation greater than the score of recruits.

In the present study, the IVR index denotes the most balanced cultural dimension among generations of police officers. Based on this, in the Brazilian context, it can be said that this cultural dimension did not vary according to the age, professional experience, or educational level of the participants. In fact, the attitude of both groups studied regarding personal satisfaction is balanced.

Having said that, to which extent are the two generations of Police Officers in PMRN culturally different? Overall, the hypothesis that considered the existence of cultural differences between the generations of PMRN state police officers can be confirmed, since four out of six cultural dimensions of Hofstede’s theory represented a significant difference between the two groups studied. The IVR and MAS indexes scored close to stability. Contrarywise, the PDI, IDV, UAI and LTO indices scored with a notable difference.

Table 3. Cronbach’s alfa variables.

4.5. Validity Using Cronbach’s Alfa

Cronbach’s alpha internal consistency analysis tool has been applied separately to each set of responses. The consolidated answers from recruits and sworn police officers were analyzed. The first resulted in an α = 0.7607 and the latter scored α = 0.7628. The calculations were made using the formula found in the appendices at the end of this article and used the variables in Table 3.

According to Goforth (2015) , the acceptable α coefficient lies between 0.65 and 0.9. Conversely, unacceptable α scores are 0.5 or below. In the current survey, both sets of responses scored amid satisfactory coefficients.

5. Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1. Conclusion

In a way, the research challenged the recommendations encountered among scholarly sources (Hofstede & McCrae, 2004) when comparing individuals from the same nation, belonging to only one organization, at the same hierarchical level. However, factors such as educational level, age and professional experience could be, albeit mildly, catalysts for significant differences between the groups studied.

Given the results, the cultural differences between the two groups have been noted as four out of six cultural dimensions of Hofstede’s theory represented a significant difference. For recruits and senior officers, the IVR and MAS indexes scored close to stability. Contrary wise, the PDI, IDV, UAI and LTO indices scored with a notable difference.

The result of the PDI is of little concern. It is concluded that the recruits are comfortable with a concentration of power (Hofstede, 1991) and, therefore, are more adapted to the PMRN organizational culture. The IDV index demonstrates that groups of newly hired police officers put more value on themselves in spite of the collectivity (Hofstede, 1991) . They will need integration strategies to engage with their colleagues and become collectivistic. The high UAI index for recruits indicates that they are used to organization, planning and methods (Hofstede, 1991) . However, the unpredictability of the police service will, naturally, counterbalance the uncertainty acceptability. The LTO index score for law enforcement officers is a warning to society and deserves vigilance. With LTO close to zero, it can be concluded that these new women and men will work in line with the maintenance of society’s traditions, rules and status quo (Barkley & Eggertsson, 2017) . For the IVR and MAS indices, there will be no difficulties to be managed between generations of police, however, further recommendations are suggested, as shown below.

Henceforth, it’s necessary to feed the institution’s strategic level with these findings and foster a more appropriate approach to HRM with the recommendations that follow below. In brief, Multicultural teams can be a challenge if not acknowledged and well-managed (Anbari et al., 2004) ; alternatively, can be an opportunity by integrating teams with high cultural diversity. It is possible to increase the range of professional and human competencies and, consequently, the range of solutions to various problems (Harris, 2001) . In brief, multicultural teams tend to play a better role in professions whose purpose is to provide public service. Society demands a holistic strategy for safety and security since the reality of human conflicts is complex.

5.2. Limitations and Delimitations

During the period of application of the questionnaire, the researchers were contacted by other sworn officers who did not meet the established sampling criteria. Among them were policemen with 11 to 15 years of service, willing to contribute voluntarily to the research. It is worth mentioning, that all these officers had belonged to the same recruitment process together with the group of senior officers selected for the survey. Thus, they are from the same generation, come from the same society and possess similar values and beliefs. Indeed, their participation could have increased the number of volunteer respondents and, unfortunately, that fact had been overlooked.

5.3. Implications of the Findings

As stated by Dickson et al. (2012: 9) “culture does matter”. Furthermore, other authors advocate the view that managing cultural teams is a contemporary challenge (Abdullah et al., 2012; Anbari et al., 2004; Dickson et al., 2012; Lückmann & Färber, 2016; Schullery, 2013; Wong et al., 2008) . Although the references above did not directly refer to police institutions, White and Escobar (2008) did. They support that LEAs are also dealing with the challenge of managing multicultural teams. The cultural diversity encountered through the application of Hofstede’s framework calls for PMRN COs to implement urgent measures to cope with multicultural teams.

The PMRN is in a process of natural development toward the requirements of its community. In 2021, the PMRN has integrated 1037 new Officers, whose socio-cultural profile differs from the last recruitment carried out more than ten years ago. Thus, PMRN’s HR is likely to enter a culture shock due to two main reasons. First, the 10 years recruiting gap and, second, the dispute of values, beliefs and traditions that might occur when integrating the recruits into the routine police service.

Based on the results, it is noticeable also that the female quota of the institution is very low. The last hiring of female police officers, before 2020, was 16 years ago. Nonetheless, the current recruitment has 1037 individuals, of which, only 70 are female (7%). This fact goes in the opposite direction than expected by society. In a representative police institution, its officers are more likely to know and understand the culture of the society they serve. Furthermore, they are more likely to be tolerant of the values, customs, traditions and views of individuals. Conversely, scholars (White & Escobar, 2008) attribute low representativeness at police stations, to non-existent relationships with the community and even abuse of power by police.

5.4. Recommendations for PMRN HRM

The cultural shock that is in the spotlight can be avoided, in the short term, with integrative measures at the police stations so that parsimoniously recruits feel part of the police family and take ownership of the institution, collaborating with colleagues, instead of competing.

Notwithstanding, in the long run, it is also important to point out that a greater frequency in the hiring of personnel, by instituting a system of recruitment, either annual or biannual, can reduce the “amount” of diversity between employees. The cultural differences present in the same community, over months (instead of decades), become irrelevant. Hence, the PMRN can naturally mitigate the possible generational shocks mentioned above.

In line with the continuity of recruitment and selection processes, the number of individuals simultaneously enrolled in the basic course shall be reviewed. Historically, the PMRN has been holding such courses with classes of 1000 recruits (Silva, 2017) . In an institution with over 8000 women and men, selecting and recruiting a troupe of individuals of this magnitude (12.5%) is a risky maneuver. It is recommended to distribute this amount over 5 years and carry out yearly based training to ensure a more achievable integration.

Finally, one of the urgent recommendations for the Rio Grande do Norte State Police is related to gender and minority balance. Today’s demand for representative policing institutions, as mentioned by the international community (United Nations, 2018) , is paramount. In this regard, the proportion of men and women in Brazil is around 50% by gender (IBGE, 2020) and the gap of female police officers in the PMRN is an invitation for reflection if this example of representativeness in public institutions contributes to equality.

5.5. The Way Forward for Research Purposes

The continuity of the research will permit a more robust understanding of the cultural differences among PMRN LEOs and, consequently, a better HRM. In the long run, the same study can be performed in the future, by studying the generation of Officers to be recruited in 2030. By adopting this measure of continuity in research, potentially, new findings will be available regarding the effects of generations over the cultural patterns in the same society.

Additionally, it is recommended the application of the same framework be applied again in two instances to PMRN police officers with 20 and 30 years of experience, who were recruited between 1990 and 2000. Such an initiative would allow us to identify the effects of time on PMRN state police officers’ culture. Also, cover Hofstede’s understanding of cultural dimensions with samples from LEOs of all hierarchical levels, rather than a small portion.

Notwithstanding, the current research was limited to analyzing quantitative data. Quantitative methodologies may fail to perceive answers beyond numbers, which come from human perceptions (McLeod, 2019) . Thus, another unexplored area can follow the steps of Xu et al. (2019) , who have implemented a qualitative analysis regarding cultural differences among individuals from different regions in China. In the same regard, one could perform another research with either the same sampling, using qualitative research design to endorse or refuse the research findings contained in this study and induct possible new knowledge regarding cultural differences amongst police officers in PMRN.

Although outside the initial scope of this research, it was realized that the low representativeness of PMRN’s HR can be a critical problem and influence community-oriented service. In this way, there is room for researching the level of representativeness of the PMRN concerning the society it serves and, if the above hypothesis is confirmed, what are the harmful effects on the police service.

This exploratory study within the scope of the PMRN made it possible to glimpse fruitful soils to support future research with the Hofstede framework. As all states have their respective uniformed police, with numerous employees each, a nationwide survey of participants from the 27 states could more accurately reflect the cultural differences observed in Hofstede et al. (2010) as a result of Brazilian macro-regions. As a positive point, the National Public Security Secretariat, as the organism above all state police, could lead and sponsor that endeavor and consolidate national results.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest regarding the publication of this paper.


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