First Advisor

Wm. Scott Cunningham

Term of Graduation

Spring 2008

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Public Administration and Policy


Public Administration




Organizational effectiveness -- Leadership, Police administration -- Washington (State), Decentralization in management, Police administration, Washington (State), Academic theses



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, x, 391 pages)


In January 2002, Washington State Patrol (WSP) Chief Ronal Serpas, Ph.D., implemented his Accountability Driven Leadership (ADL) philosophy throughout the entire statewide public safety agency. The initiative was intended to re-focus personnel on agency strategic goals, objectives, and performance. ADL stressed Computer Statistic (CompStat) management tenants, decentralized decision-making, and efficiency and effectiveness performance measures.

Most CompStat research has been anecdotal in nature, meaning little empirical analysis has scrutinized the implementation of these initiatives in policing. Additionally, the principal researcher could not locate any research that examined these changes in a statewide law enforcement agency. Therefore, this case study contributes to this scholarship through its rigorous investigation of the WSP's adoption of ADL and application across a wide variety of statewide public safety activities.

The research project used the organizational development literature as a means to develop its preliminary theoretical model and central research question, which was: What executive leadership and management strategies were utilized by WSP executives during the implementation of ADL between 2002 and 2004? It examined four organizational factors as a means to better understand their influence on organizational change during this period. These included: executive leadership, organizational culture, employee motivation, and strategic management principles.

This case study relied on several data sources. The WSP's three-year performance results highlighted many statewide public safety achievements throughout its six organizational bureaus and their major divisions. Additionally, the WSP change efforts were scrutinized in a variety of external reviews. Finally, 34 semi-structured, key informant interviews solicited respondents' own views, words, and reflections about how the organizational factors contained in the proposed model of change may have shaped WSP success.

The historical document reviews and interview analyses produced a more complex theoretical organizational change model than first envisioned. While the new model still contained the earlier organizational factors, the project revealed their manifestation within the WSP was influenced by a myriad of internal forces and external pressures. The utilization, integration, and alignment of these concepts in the WSP, in combination with the implementation of ADL, appear to be the real catalysts for agency success during the project time frame.


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