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  4. 3.22 Organizational learning in action: 2020-2021

3.22 Organizational learning in action: 2020-2021

Academic team: Dr Leah Tomkins, Professor Jean Hartley
Policing partners: Metrpolitan Police Service
Status: Complete

Cambs police officers

This project aims to embed the key findings of the OU’s action research project on Organizational Learning (3.07). A key focus is on operationalising the OU’s Blame to Praise model, which is linked closely with the new Police Conduct Regulations Act, 2020, and its introduction of the category of Reflective Practice. The Blame to Praise model maps different possible reasons for failure in policing. It is being used as a tool-kit to put individualised fault, blame and misconduct in a broader organizational context, encouraging explicit recognition that things can go wrong in policing even when every single rule, regulation and best practice has been followed. It is now being used by MPS to inform their new Complaint and Conduct Reflection Scheme.

The Blame to Praise model demonstrates that:

  • There are five main reasons for failure in policing, all with different implications for learning
  • Only preventable failures should trigger a misconduct investigation; other sorts of failure arise with the sheer complexity of policing and/or indicate the need for procedure change
  • Operationalising Reflective Practice will separate learning from misconduct and blame, and hence help to lessen policing’s ‘blame culture’

In addition to our work to embed the Blame to Praise model, the team is developing research in the following main areas:

  • Evidence-based practice
  • Ethics of care in policing
  • The learning mindset in policing
  • Innovation and learning


Title Outputs type Lead academic Year
Bridging the theory/practice gap in policing: 'What matters' versus 'What works' in evidence-based practice and organizational learning Action research report Tomkins, L 2020



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