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NCJ Number: 70202 Find in a Library
Title: Leader Behavior in a Police Command Bureaucracy - A Closer Look at the Quasi-Military Model
Journal: Administrative Science Quarterly  Volume:24  Issue:1  Dated:(March 1979)  Pages:1-23
Author(s): J M Jermier; L J Berkes
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 23
Sponsoring Agency: Ohio State University
Columbus, OH 43210
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study evaluated the role of the formal supervisor in building morale among subordinates in a police bureaucracy.
Abstract: The military ideology which has shaped police organization and guided administrative behaviors was examined by assessing the validity of the leader-as-commander image. A total of 158 police officers in a large Midwestern police department was surveyed during normal working hours using a short questionnaire. The results gave little support to the quasi-military model of a supervisor, a model characterized by impersonal, highly directive, authoritarian leadership. Instead leader participativeness and task variability emerged as the most significant predictors of subordinate job satisfaction and organizational commitment. Overall, subordinates did not respond either indiscriminately or favorably to directive leadership. Expanded hypotheses derived from a situational leadership theory, House's Path Goal Theory, were also tested. Generally, the earlier research was supported, confirming the importance of task demands as determinants of leadership effectiveness. Other research questions sought to uncover leadership style mandates based on watch characteristics. Results showed that, on the second of three watches, the formal leader's effect on subordinate morale was minimal since the social organization provided ample substitutes for leadership (two-man patrol units and field training officers). The study highlights the function of participative and supportive leadership in building commitment to the employing organization and enhancing subordinate job satisfaction. It also suggests that much of police authoritarianism and police brutality may be traceable to organization structure determinants and occupational role requirements. Tabular data and references accompany the study.
Index Term(s): Employer-employee relations; Personnel administration; Police management
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