The Multi-Dimensional Environment of Publicly Funded U.S. Crime Laboratories and Its Impact on Lab Priorities

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Institutional theory of organizations has been increasingly applied to U.S. police organizations. There is, however, a dearth of literature applying institutional theory to publicly funded U.S. crime laboratories. Utilizing a national census and a survey of laboratory directors, we assess lab directors’ awareness of their institutional environments. We find that lab directors perceive a multi-dimensional institutional environment surrounding their labs, and they attribute varying levels of importance to sovereigns within their institutional environments. Lab directors also identify a multi-dimensional, organizational priority structure. Further analysis indicates that directors’ perceptions of their environments significantly impact organizational priorities, findings that support institutional theory.