Police leadership: an exploratory study of the perceptions of police officers

Davis, C., 2017. Police leadership: an exploratory study of the perceptions of police officers. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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Studies of police leadership have focused on the identification of good practice and effectiveness in leadership which has involved the application of existing frameworks to the understanding of leadership. The perspective of police officers, and importantly their understandings of leadership, is left unexamined. Similarly, current research and policy typically conceptualises leadership in the police as rank-free, with leadership and rank discussed as separate constructs.

Within a social constructionist theoretical framework, this thesis provides a critical analysis of senior police officers’ understandings of leadership in the police. Based on 38 semi-structured interviews from chief constable to inspector rank in one UK police constabulary, this thesis presents a framework of ideas about the meanings of leadership in the police and considers the taken-for-granted assumptions embedded in these meanings.

Informed by grounded theory, the analysis shows that the authority of rank is central to the understanding of police leadership; the assumptions attached to rank reflect assumptions about the nature of leadership. The concepts of 'doing' and 'undoing' of rank describe the different ways rank is used in police leadership. The doing of rank refers to ways in which the authority of rank is prioritised, emphasised and reinforced, compared with the undoing of rank, which describes the downplaying of rank as an authority in leadership. The findings show the ways in which rank acts as a barrier to alternative leadership practices in the police. This thesis argues therefore that an understanding of the influence of rank in police leadership or 'rank awareness', is essential precursor to the development and acceptance of participatory or collaborative leadership in the police.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Davis, C.
Date: July 2017
Rights: This work is the intellectual property of the author. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed to the owner(s) of the Intellectual Property Rights.
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 27 Mar 2018 14:40
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2018 14:40
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/33121

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