Rank Matters: Police Leadership and the Authority of Rank
journal contributionposted on 2019-02-15, 11:45 authored by C Davis
Dominant discourse conceptualises leadership in the police as a rank-neutral activity. Despite the growing body of academic work in police leadership studies, critical analysis of the influence of rank is largely overlooked. The power and authority of rank have assumed a taken-for-granted and unquestioned status. The authority of rank, however, provides police officers with a powerful framework to understand leadership in the police. Drawing on the findings from 38 semi-structured interviews with police officers in a UK constabulary, this paper problematises conventional understanding of police leadership and theorises the use of rank through the creation of an analytical model, the Situated Authority Model of Leadership. The Model acts as framework for policing scholars and practitioners to critically consider the nuanced relationship between context and authority in police leadership. At a time when police organisations across the globe increasingly seek to adopt collaborative leadership practices, this paper contributes to the evidence base that challenges the development of alternative approaches to leadership and demonstrates that an appreciation of rank in the experience and practice of leadership is fundamental to the leadership reform in the police.
CitationPolicing and Society
Author affiliation/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SOCIAL SCIENCES, ARTS AND HUMANITIES/Department of Criminology
- AM (Accepted Manuscript)