Coming to America: British Organizational Psychologist Wins Fulbright Award for Police Research
By Monica Mendiratta
“Created in the aftermath of the Second World War through the vision of Senator J. William Fulbright, the US-UK Fulbright Commission promotes peace and understanding through educational exchange. It is part of the global Fulbright Program—one of the worlds most prestigious awards programs, operating in over 150 countries with nearly 300,000 alumni worldwide. Of these, more have won Nobel Prizes than those of any other academic program” (UK-US Fulbright Commission Website, 2010).
The Fulbright Police Research Fellowship is one of several awards aimed at encouraging and supporting the exchange of information between the US and the UK and is highly regarded in both countries. Police officers and staff from across the country can apply to carry out research on the best practices in any matter relating to policing. As a result, the fellowship is very competitive— particularly for proposals about HR-related areas, as many proposals focus on operational policing matters (e.g. gun crime).
In order to be successful, participants have to demonstrate that their research is a high priority for UK policing. They also have to demonstrate that it is an urgent and current matter for the field. Applicants then have to evidence a personally proven academic and ambassadorial capability so that they can represent the UK police and build an ongoing long-term relationship with US counterparts.
I applied for a Fulbright award to carry out research on leadership development, and I am very privileged to have won the award for 2010-2011. I arrived in the US in November of last year where I have been working as a Research Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in addition to working with several professors at the Harvard Business School. While here, I have linked in with colleagues at the Los Angeles Police Department, Canadian Police College, New York Police Department, Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), and the FBI in order to observe their leadership programs and styles. From these organizations, I have been learning about the best practices in leadership development, particularly focusing on the development of business skills for police leaders.
This is a unique opportunity to be able to learn from some of the best leaders in this field. It is a chance to exchange ideas about leadership development and present new approaches to England when I return. Hopefully it will allow us to build ongoing relationships with colleagues in the US. As an organizational psychologist, it has been a great experience to meet my US colleagues and get a more international perspective on organizational issues. It is exciting to involve more psychologists in this field and help get these specific issues on the table.
I am very encouraged by the philosophy of the Fulbright Commission, which aims to use these mutual exchange opportunities to build stronger international links in the world and therefore promote peace and diversity. Hence, I hope to build lasting relationships with my psychologist colleagues through the American Psychological Association.
Please contact me if you want to talk about my research or share ideas.
In a future edition of Psychology International, Monica will describe her research findings in leadership development and law enforcement contexts.
About the Author:
Monica is a Chartered Occupational Psychologist working for the Metropolitan Police Service. She currently works in the Leadership Academy where she designs and delivers team workshops on individual development, specifically for senior managers and directors. Monica has been involved with the British Psychological Society, the Association of Business Psychologists, the Institute of Business Consultants, and the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development.