Research Paper on the promotional system of the Chicago Police Department

Improving the Promotional Process

A Graduate Research Project

Presented to The College of Graduate and Professional Studies Department of Criminal Justice Indiana State University

In Partial Fulfillment

Of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Science

By Kenvar J. Pujoe December 2011


Promotion plays an important role in any organization. Key areas influence employee performance and motivation. As such, it remains a sensitive subject amongst employees. An organization with good policies on promotion enhances loyalty amongst its employees and motivates them to work harder. Ultimately, this leads to better production in the organization. On the other hand, lack of or poor policies on promotion demotivate workers leading to high turnover rate and low productivity within the organization

This research project seeks to analyze the promotional system of the Chicago Police Department (CPD). The institution promotes staff based on merit and seniority or ranks of employees. Although sufficient, this system is characterized by numerous weaknesses and has received much criticism from internal and external circles. At CPD, the merit and rank or seniority promotional system is not implemented effectively. This is because the best candidates for promotion and brightest of staff are not always assured of being promoted through this system. This research seeks to make an analysis of the situation and draw out the weaknesses in the system. This research will also identify more attractive alternative methods of promoting staff so that Chicago Police Department can offer better promotion opportunities to their best employees.

The research proposal will attempt to answer these four questions: what would be the best alternatives to the current promotional systems at Chicago Police Department? How has the seniority and merit system of promotion being practiced at Chicago Police Department impacted on the performance of police officers? What are some of the merits and demerits of this promotional system as experienced at Chicago Police Department? How effective has this seniority and merit system of promotion been in Chicago Police Department?

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Table of Contents
  • Introduction
    • Background of the Study
    • Significance of the Study
  • Literature Review
  • Problem Statement
  • Research Questions
  • Hypothesis
  • Research Methodology
    • Data Collection
    • Target Population
    • Sampled Population
    • Questionnaires and Interviews
    • Data Analysis
    • Limitations and Assumptions
    • Definition of Terms
  • References


One of the major critical issues under the HR docket is the concept of promotion of employees at the work place. A good policy framework to guide the HR department on promotion processes is a big motivator to the staff and actually makes them more productive. It is no wonder that organizations with proper strategies and policies for promotion activities and processes have more staff that are productive and are more successful. Conversely, organizations without policies on promotion and those with half-baked policies characterized by political influence, bias and favoritism end up demoralizing employees tend to have high turnover rates, demoralized employees, and these affects the overall performance and production rates of the company (Sanchez, 2008).

Evidence suggests that the organizations that plan well for the promotion of their employees and put in place effective policies regarding the same tend to get better financial returns. Once employees have gained a certain amount of experience, they become valuable assets to their employer because of the coveted skills. They potentially have more value to most competitors within the industry that require the skills regarded as highly marketable. For such employees, any signs of mistreatment or unappreciation from their employer would result in them either being demotivated and becoming lax in their duties or seeking greener pastures in other organizations. Either way, the organization would lose the benefits of these coveted skills. It is from this perspective that organizations must work to ensure that all the promotional strategies and policies are geared towards appreciating the best employees and retain the best employees for increased productivity within the organization. According to Hanson (2008), an organization whose promotional strategies and policies are grounded in political influence, biasness, discrimination and favoritism is likely to face adverse effects on production and even end up losing skillful and talented human capital.

The Chicago Police Department has been debating for years among its staff on how to change for the better the process of promotion of employees. Currently one of the biggest concerns is how to change the current promotional process that is based on ranks and seniority.

Law enforcement career offers a reasonable amount of occupational stability to the officers at Chicago Police Department. This allows them to choose whether they want to remain in the same rank, they started at throughout their career or they want to seek promotion and advance up the career ladder. Promotion is normally seen as a viable option for the officers who are unhappy with their current pay rates, nature of their jobs and states of supervision. A bid to fulfill personal career goals also pushes some officers to seek promotion. Surprisingly, several qualified police officers who choose to pass up promotion processes disregard it totally due to personal diversified reasons. Some do this because they are satisfied with their current positions and others are complacent about performance.