Teaching Case - Fourth Platoon (Abridged)

Fourth Platoon (Abridged)


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  • Product Description

    This case describes Mayor John Lindsay's 1968 attempt to improve the efficiency of the New York City Police Department by creating a Fourth Platoon to cover high crime hours of the day. The mayor's proposal required major changes in the way patrolmen were deployed, affecting seniority and vacation days, squad makeup, and normal routines. The Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, an organization representing 25,000 patrolmen, strongly opposed the Fourth Platoon. In spite of this opposition, the mayor's office and police commissioner Howard Leary proceeded with the deployment, but implementation went more slowly than anticipated. As numerous problems surfaced, the overall effectiveness of the Fourth Platoon was called into question. The case illustrates how "standard operating procedures" can prevent implementation of a new policy, and how something that appears to be a small technical change becomes much more complex when it affects the rules and habits of the workplace.

  • Other Details

    Publication Date: January 01, 1975
    HKS Case Number: 13.3
    Case Author: Matthew Stagner
    Faculty Lead: Timothy Bates, Mark Moore, Graham Allison, Jane Downing, and Steve Kelman
    Pages (incl. exhibits): 34
    Setting: United States
    Language: English
    Funding Source: Ford Foundation
    _year: Older than 2000
    _pages: 25+
    _geography: US & Canada
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