An exploratory study of the lived experience of being an intelligence analyst
Edith Cowan University Security Research Institute
Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science
School of Computer and Security Science / ECU Security Research Institute
Since the World Trade Centre terror attacks of 2001 the intelligence domain has grown rapidly. In keeping with this growth has been a significant increase of scholarly interest in the domain. The intelligence literature is dominated by research into the failures of the discipline, organisational structure and the politics of intelligence. The intelligence analyst is a critical component of the intelligence domain yet is remarkably absent from the intelligence literature. This research seeks to address that imbalance by examining the lived experience of the analyst operating in the law enforcement intelligence domain. To this end, interpretive phenomenology was employed to understand the meanings attributed to analysts’ subjective experiences in order to identify enablers and barriers that impact their crucial function in law enforcement. A purposive sample of eight analysts participated in in‐depth, semi structured interviews. Transcripts were subjected in interpretive phenomenological analysis, which revealed two superordinate themes: Self and Work/Home Divide. These referred to internal and external factors that impacted upon participants’ functioning, some of which may have a negative impact on psychological wellbeing while others are relevant to efficient functioning within the workplace. Two subthemes being communication and internal conflict are discussed in depth.