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12 Int'l J. Police Sci. & Mgmt. 567 (2010)
An Exploratory Study on Ideal Leadership Behaviour: The Opinions of American Police Managers

handle is hein.journals/injposcim12 and id is 575 raw text is: International Journal of Police Science & Management Volume 12 Number 4

An exploratory study on ideal leadership
behaviour: the opinions of American police
Viviana Andreescu and Gennaro F. Vitot
(Both) Department of Justice Administration, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40292,
t(Corresponding author) Tel: 001 800 334 8635; email: gf.vito@louisville.edu
Submitted 28 April 2010; revision submitted 20 June 2010;
accepted 9 July 2010
Keywords: police leadership, police organisation, police structure, police
administration, police management

Viviana Andreescu is an assistant professor in
the Department of Justice Administration at the
University of Louisville. She holds a PhD in Urban
and Public Affairs from the University of
Gennaro F Vito is a professor and Distinguished
University Scholar at the University of Louisville's
Department of Justice Administration. He is also
a member of the faculty of the Administrative
Officers Course at the Southern Police Institute
at the University of Louisville. He holds a PhD in
Public Administration from Ohio State University
and is a past president and fellow of the
Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.
This study examines the perceived ideal leader-
ship behaviour in police organisations. It is based
on a survey of 126 police managers from 23 US
States who attended the Administrative Officers
Course at the Southern Police Institute during
the academic year 2007-2008. The question-
naire used in this investigation includes the
Leader Behaviour Description Questionnaire
Form XII (Stodgill, 1963). The main objectives
of this exploratory analysis are to rank the
importance of leadership characteristics based on
police officers' perceptions, to create a typology of

leadership styles preferred, and to identify the
demographic factors that are most likely to influ-
ence variations in opinions regarding the behavi-
our of an ideal police leader. This research shows
that individual characteristics can influence not
only managerial styles, but also leadership prefer-
ences. In particular, results imply that gender and
race play an important role in structuring leader-
ship preferences. Female police officers do not
appear to difer from men in their preferences for a
predominantly task-centred and structured leader-
ship. However, women seem to favour more than
men do: (1) a type of leader who can be
considered 'transformational'; or (2) a more
democratic, worker-oriented leader, who would
allow subordinates freedom of action and would
respond well to the followers' concerns. Compared
with Whites and other racial minorities, African
American police officers tend to favour more a
structured task-centred leadership orientation or a
leadership style described as transformational.
Leadership is a crucial concept in the devel-
opment of effective organisations. Just what
it consists of and how it should be exercised
is the subject of serious study across several
disciplines. Effective leaders motivate their

International Journal of Police
Science and Management,
Vol. 12 No. 4, 2010, pp. 567 583.
DOI: 10.1350/ijps.2010.12.4.207

Page 5671

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