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Criminal Justice Leadership: A rose by another name may be a different flower

MCJ6405: Organizational Leadership

W6: Assignment 2
Criminal Justice Leadership:
A rose by another name may be a different flower

Problem Statement

Organizational perspectives on leadership from fields outside of criminal justice are not relevant to criminal-justice practitioners because criminal-justice leaders face scenarios that are not comparable with scenarios that occur in other fields.
Do you think that the job of a police chief is comparable with the job of a business executive? Why? Compare both jobs in terms of accountability, performance parameters, organizational objectives, social responsibilities, educational qualifications, work environment, and compensation structure.

The job of a police chief is comparable to a business leader's job. There are signifigant differences, but similarities as well. Both are accountable to stakeholders; board members represent the interests of stock owners for the businessman, while politicians represent the interests of the public relating to the police chief. Their performances may be rate differently; “Business organizations self-correct when profits decline. Government agencies, if they self-regulate, do not have a market barometer to indicate when they have problems” (Perry, 2010, p. 50). The organizational objectives are completely different; businesses seek profit while criminal justice agencies perform a number of roles for society such as law enforcement and rehabilitation of criminals. As such, their social responsibilities are different. While businesses leaders must legally act within the law, police chiefs must ethcially comply; “It is the positive duty of criminal justice agency heads to ensure that ethical practice is attended to“ (Wright, 1999, para. 6). The educational standards for police managers is comparable to that of businesses leaders, and both often originate from the middle class. The work environment is an area in which they substantially differ; “Other occupational groups have their own cultures, but among police, they, as a
group, demonstrate an insular and often impenetrable solidarity” (Perry, 2010, p. 30). Finally, the job security is very different as well. Business leaders accounatble for profits may be let go at any sign of failure, while police chiefs are often protected by civil service; “Civil service, whether it is state or local, provides a measure of job security against political changes” (Perry, 2010, p.3).

What could be the similarities and differences in the leadership styles of a business executive and a police chief? Which leadership concepts and strategies that you studied in this course can be applied to both of these positions? Explain.

Effective leaders in both fields will choose the best method of leadership at any given time; “That is the way one leads a group of people will depend on whom one is working with, and what one is doing. A person will lead a group making sandwiches differently than one will lead a group making nuclear bombs. According to this theory, the
effectiveness of the style depends on the specific situation” (Morreale, n.d., p.26). Due to modern research into leadership theory, police have been able to tap into this knowledge to develop their approaches;
Police leaders have looked to theories utilized by the business world and other fields of endeavor in an effort to improve management” (Perry, 2010, p. 45). However, there are considerations which may limit the abilitity of police leaders in certain aspects of leadership. “Most governmental elements are so bureaucratic that it is difficult to allow or seek creativity and innovation” (Morreale, n.d., p. 8). This bureaucratic consideration also means that “The inflexibility faced by appointing authorities when using the civil service system stymies their ability to select the best leaders for their communities” (Perry, 2010, p. 13).

Do police chiefs have to perform the same management tasks as business executives? If yes, explain these tasks. If no, then explain why you think so.

For the most part, business and police leaders conduct the same activities; budget planning, recruitment and hiring, infrastructure maintenance, and performance reviews. Police leaders, working in a different cultural environment, must sometimes carry these tasks out in different ways than do business leaders, Perry summarizes Reuss-Ianni's concept of the 'street‘ cop and
the 'management‘ cop, and their tendency to “look at policing in dissimilar ways...This chasm between the 'street‘ cops and the 'management‘ cops can be relieved with supportive management but not entirely eradicated because a police department is a quasi-military institution and the demarcation in rank is a reality” (2010, pp. 40,41). In addition, the budgeting cycles of police and business leaders differs; “National and international economic conditions have strained local
police budgets” (Fischer, 2014, p.1).

Do the subordinatespolice officers, male business executives, and women executivesthat the police chief and the business executive oversee, have different leadership requirements? Why? What are some of the similarities in the subordinates of both the leaders?

One aspect of police culture that has a positive difference for police leaders over business leaders in influencing subordinates is the para-military rank structure; Cowper states that police departments tend to be organized with rank structures and many law enforcement directors desire respect for the chain of command (2000, p. 229). This also affects the level of organizational commitment; “The literature suggest that para-military organizations, such as the police, will have high
levels of organizational commitment because they exhibit organizational cultures thathave strong norms for obligation, internalization and identiļ¬cation, that are conditions that facilitate organizational commitment”(Dick, 2011, p. 560)

Evaluate the concept of ethical leadership in law enforcement and business on the following criteria:

  • Integrity of leader behavior
  • Risk taking in decisions and actions
  • Response to criticism and dissent by followers
  • Development of skills and self-confidence in followers

Support your responses with one example each from law enforcement and business.

While much less vital to businesses leadership, ethcial leadership has an impact on both areas of operation; “Integrity is vital to the functioning of private as well as public organizations. If the integrity of an employee or manager is in question, it may have paralyzing consequences for them as well as the organization” (Huberts, Kaptein, & Lasthuizen, 2007, p. 588). We can return to Wrights statement, “it is the positive duty of criminal justice agency heads to ensure that ethical practice is attended to“ and reference the failure of ethical leadership in both business and law enforcement; Enron is such an example in the business world, while the Rampart CRASH unit an example of failure in the police field. Risk in leadership varys by situation; in business, the leader of a startup must take signifiganlty greater risks than an established blue-chip CEO must. And while “no one can succeed at public management without taking
risks” (Morreale, n.d., p. 5), criminal justice leaders that take inappropriate risks open their agencies up to lawsuits. Effective leaders also accept criticism from their subordinates; Chief Vollmer used to hold Friday Crab Club meetings to get feedback from his officers. Herbert Kelleher of Southwest Airlines simarly has had a direct relation with his employees. Effective leadership also requires that employees be motivated through the self-confidence of competence, here we look to Vollmer and Kelleher for examples of leaders that understood the need for employee skills development.

Cowper, T. J. (2000). The myth of the “military model” of leadership in law enforcement. Police Quarterly, 3(3), 228–246. Retrieved August 10, 2014 from http://pqx.sagepub.com/content/3/3/228.short
Dick, G. P. m. (2011). The Influence of Managerial and Job Variables on Organizational Commitment in the Police. Public Administration, 89(2), 557–576. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9299.2010.01874.x

Fischer, C. (2014). Legitimacy and Procedural Justice:  A New Element of Police Leadership. Police Executive Research Forum. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from http://www.policeforum.org/assets/docs/Free_Online_Documents/Leadership/legitimacy%20and%20procedural%20justice%20-%20a%20new%20element%20of%20police%20leadership.pdf

Huberts, L. W. J. C. (Leo), Kaptein, M. (Muel), & Lasthuizen, K. (Karin). (2007). A study of the impact of three leadership styles on integrity violations committed by police officers. Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, 30(4), 587–607. doi:10.1108/13639510710833884

Morreale, S. (n.d.). Law enforcement leadership:Literature and practice. New England Community-Police Partnership. Retrieved August 17, 2014 from http://www.fstopltd.com/Police_Leadership.pdf

Perry, A. E. (2010). The evolution of police organizations and leadership in the United States: potential political and social implications. Retrieved August 10, 2014 from http://iris.lib.neu.edu/law_pol_soc_diss/20/

Wright, K. (1999). Leadership Is the Key to Ethical Practice in Criminal Justice Agencies. - Free Online Library. Criminal Justice Ethics. Retrieved August 15, 2014 from http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Leadership+Is+the+Key+to+Ethical+Practice+in+Criminal+Justice...-a060060343

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