Classic Case - Fourth Platoon

Fourth Platoon


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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, though implementation was slower than anticipated. As numerous problems surfaced, the overall effectiveness of the Fourth Platoon was called into question.

    Learning Objective:
    The case illustrates how "standard operating procedures" can prevent implementation of a new policy, and how a seemingly small technical change becomes more complex when affecting the rules and habits of the workplace.

  • Other Details

    Publication Date: January 01, 1975
    HKS Case Number: 13.0
    Case Author: Timothy Bates, Mark Moore, Graham Allison and Jane Downing
    Faculty Lead: Graham Allison
    Pages (incl. exhibits): 50
    Setting: United States
    Language: English
    Funding Source: Ford Foundation
    _pages: 25+
    _geography: US & Canada
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