A Review of Leadership Theories and Possible Changes to Police Leadership

Topics: Leadership, Police, Management Pages: 38 (10294 words) Published: December 28, 2012
Leadership Theories and Change
Running Head: Leadership Theories and Change

A Review of Leadership Theories and Possible Changes to Police Leadership Randy L. Conyers
University of Central Florida


Leadership Theories and Change


Throughout the history of law enforcement, leaders have used many different styles to lead employees. From the early styles of Autocratic and Laissez-Faire to Participative (democratic), Transactional and Transformational leadership. Leadership within policing has evolved over the years in some organizations to a more participative style and yet there are still leaders who cling to an antiquated domineering style.

The purpose of this paper identified trait theories, leadership theories and change strategies that have molded or are molding the policing culture. Change must occur if the culture of police organizations are going to meet the demands of the 21st century and several issues affecting this change were discussed. An in-depth review of the transactional and transformational styles of leadership was seen as being the styles that a leader in the 21st century would want to use to meet the needs of their employees and motivate them toward success and self-actualization.

Although no empirical research is completed in this paper, the literature reviewed and previous research indicate that the transformational style of leadership augments the transactional style, but not vise versa. It also emphasizes that leaders need to become more transformational toward employees and allow them to participate in the decision-making process. As more leadership research is continued, the following research question is proposed for future study: To what extent would an exclusive transformational leadership style in police organizations have on rank structure and promotions?

Leadership Theories and Change


A Review of Leadership Theories and Possible Changes to Police Leadership



Organizations, including law enforcement agencies, require leadership. Dependable and apposite leadership is crucial to the success of any organization (Spinelli, 2006). Leaders aspire for change in people toward a desired goal. Lussier & Achua (2004) insisted that leadership was a procedure that not only influenced employees, but leaders as well, to accomplish the goals of the organization through change. Leadership entwines leaders-employees, influence, organizational objectives, change and people. Leading involves people. Everyone is leading someone somewhere, but the question is where and how. In order to be a good leader one must be a good employee. Many scholars define leadership as one who plans, directs, or guides people toward a mutual goal. Hesser (1999) noted, “Leadership has two component parts, personal and organizational. Success, over time, demands knowledge of and commitment to both”. Spinelli (2006) describes a successful leader as being accountable and suitable. Leadership has been described as an influence relationship among leaders and employees who intend real changes and outcomes that reflect their shared purposes (Daft, 2005). The qualities for effective leadership and followership are the same (Daft). The basis for good leadership is a respectable personality and unselfish service to employees and the organization (Clark, 1997). “The best leaders are those who are deeply interested in others and can bring out the best in them” (Daft).

Leadership Theories and Change


Kouzes & Posner (2007) add that exemplary leadership comes from modeling the way, inspiring a shared vision, challenging the process, enabling others to act and encouraging hearts. Leadership in the law enforcement culture has changed over the decades, but must continue to change in order to address modern day problems. The purpose for this paper is to examine police leadership from a historical and empirical standpoint and discuss possible theories for change. An in-depth...

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