The Problem Analysis Triangle

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The Problem Analysis Triangle (also known as the Crime Triangle) is a model used to envisage and cognize problems associated with crime. The Problem Analysis Triangle associates the occurrence of crime with three fundamental aspects without either of which no crime would occur. For a crime to take place, there must be an offender, a victim, and a location. Without any of these three present at the same time, no crime can take place. Criminologists Lawrence Cohen and Marcus Felson proposed the Problem Analysis Triangle.

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The Problem Analysis Triangle originates from one of the core theories of environmental criminology - routine activity theory ((Felson, Andresen, & Farrell, 2015). The routine activity theory as developed by Lawrence Cohen and Marcus Felson proposes that crime takes place when a likely offender and suitable target come together in time and place in the absence of a guardian. To reduce the possibility of a crime being committed, at least, two factors have to be eliminated.

Katz and Kahn's Categories of Formal Communication

In common English usage, the word formal is used to refer to following a previously set standard or requirements of behavior. Subsequently, in explaining formal communication," it can be referred to as the set of rules as set by an organization in determining communicative behavior (Manning, 1992). According to Manning (1992) Communication takes place in three directions in an organization; upwards, downwards and horizontally. Downward communication involves transmission that begins at the top ranks and is sent to the lower ranks.

Many typologies have been put forward to explain downward communication. However, the typology developed by Daniel Katz and Robert L. Kahn (1966) is the most commonly used. In their book The social psychology of organizations, Katz, and Kahns typology disseminates downward communication into five separate categories. The categories are job instructions, job rationales, procedures and practices, feedback, and indoctrination (Katz & Kahn, 1966).

Job Instructions

This category involves the first type of communication that accompanies a job. It involves how the management would prefer to have the employee handle the tasks associated with the job. It might take days, months, or years to get an employee to understand how to carry out their job. Some organizations organize specialized training for their employees.

Job Rationales

A job rationale is a basic statement that defines the purpose of a particular job and the significance of that job to the overall goals of the organization (Katz & Kahn, 1966). It is imperative for an employee to understand how their role fits into the mission of the organization since each job is aimed at assisting the organization to fulfill its goals.

Procedures & Practices

Procedures and practices are guidelines sometimes in the form of a manual or handbook that are given to employees when they start working at an organization (Katz & Kahn, 1966). Procedures are the steps that should be followed in a certain situation. Practices are behaviors or actions that should be carried out habitually at the organization.


Availing feedback to employees is an important duty of supervisors (Certo, 2008). Employees can only carry out their jobs better with feedback on their performance from those above them. Feedback can be negative or positive. Positive feedback takes place when a supervisor tells an employee the employee is doing well. Negative feedback occurs when an employee is informed of unsatisfactory performance.

Employee Indoctrination

Indoctrination of employees involves imparting of ideals with a partisan or ideological point of view. Mainly, indoctrination involves communicating to employees about company values, vision, and strategic goals (Katz & Kahn, 1966).

Problems in Downward Communication

The most common assumption in communication in an organization is that once someone is given some information, they will remember it exactly as it was told and remember it all the time. However, misunderstandings, misinterpretation, forgetfulness and ignoring information does occur in an organization.


Braga, A. A. (2002). Problem-oriented policing and crime prevention. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice Press.

Certo, S. C. (2008). Supervision: Concepts and skill-building. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.

Felson, M., Andresen, M. A., & Farrell, G. (2015). The criminal act: The role and influence of routine activity theory. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Katz, D., & Kahn, R. L. (1966). The social psychology of organizations. New York, NY: Wiley.

Manning, P. K. (1992). Organizational communication. New York, NY: A. de Gruyter.

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