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Cross-functional teamwork in criminal investigation: An intervention project aimed to support collaborative work for detectives

Research project The project explores how cross-functional collaborative work can be supported in police units where detectives are investigating internet-facilitated sexual offending of children (IFSO). This crime type challenging to investigate as it requires extensive collaboration and integration of technical expertise with expertise in sexual crime against children.

IFSO investigation regularly takes place in temporary teams, and it is exceptionally mentally taxing to work with for investigators, which highlights the need for sustainable working conditions where detectives can support each other. A promising approach to support teamwork in cross-functional teams is through the concept of team scaffolds. Team scaffolds entail basic role structures aimed to facilitate role coordination and teamwork in temporary settings.

Head of project

Oscar Rantatalo
Associate professor

Project overview

Project period:

2023-07-01 2026-06-30

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Education, Department of Psychology

Research area

Education, Psychology

External funding


Project description

The aim of this project is to explore how cross-functional collaboration can be supported in IFSO investigation. Using a dynamic integrated evaluation model (DIEM), the research group will work with the Swedish police to develop, implement and evaluate the feasibility of a ‘team scaffold’ intervention in 4 investigative special victims units’ that work with IFSO in Sweden.

We will develop an intervention prototype which then is implemented in the 4 participating units using a stepped wedge design. This means that units sequentially crossover from a control- to an intervention condition. We will evaluate the intervention continuously using mixed methods at baseline and in four waves of subsequent data collection. Data will be collected through interviews and participant observations as well as through surveys and organizational metrics to follow up on the outcomes of the intervention for each unit. Working closely with the practitioners through co-creation, we will develop new knowledge on how collaboration and cross-functional teamwork can support IFSO investigations. The project contributes with empirically grounded research and evaluation on investigation methods.

External funding

Latest update: 2023-09-26