Continuous change is essential it any organization. Public safety organizations are always facing change in the social, political and technological arena (Karp & Helgo, 2008). In order to move forward and keep ahead, an organization must recognize that change is necessary. In addition, a strong leadership component is vital to be effective in the 21st Century. Public safety organizations that foster a learning environment will embrace and succeed in the face of continuous and rapid change (Meese & Ortmeire, 2004). More importantly, an organizations leadership style that guides every aspect of the change makes it possible to succeed (Kotter, 2007; Gardner, 1990). This paper will reflect the various leadership theories in relationship to transformational change in public safety organizations. These would include an evaluation of trait theories, situational theory, path-goal theory, and transformational theory. In addition, a combination of trait theory, path-goal theory and transformational theory would be the best suited for public safety leadership within organizational change.
Theories of leadership have evolved over the last century to where they more accurately describe activities and successes within organizational circumstances (Avolio & Yammario, 2002; Yukl, 2006). Theories from traits to transformational attempts to describe the behaviors that led to successful leadership. Meese and Ortmeire (2004) state that leadership theories can be broken down into three major components: leader-centered theories; follower and context-centered theories; and leader-follower interactions-centered theories. Leader-center theories incorporate trait theories, behavior theory, personal-situational theory, interaction-expectation theory (Meese & Ortmeire, 2004). Follower- and context-centered theories “reflects a significant advance over simplistic, universal, one-way leadership models” (Meese & Ortmeire, 2004, p. 50). In addition, it would include situational...
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