Police leadership for complex times

Police leadership for complex times

Authored by: Victoria Herrington* and Andrew Colvin**


"There will always be a need for rank-authority in policing, and command and control will remain an important tool in an organization’s armoury, providing direction, protection, and a sense of safety and security for those inside and outside the organization. But as organizations increasingly grapple with the very real complexity of social problems that lead to crime, as well as the complexity of their own organizations, a better understanding and nurturing of different approaches to leadership is vitally important. Responding to complexity requires innovation, experimentation, and leveraging thoughts, ideas, and experiences from a range of people. This is shared leadership, where leadership is a group process of shared responsibility and mutual influence in which team members lead each other towards their goals. The challenge for police organizations and those who run them is how shared leadership—in which power and influence are not centralized in the hands of a superior leader—can co-exist alongside traditional bureaucratic and hierarchical conceptualizations in policing. To this end, in this article we explore the notion of leadership ambidexterity—that is being effective at the very different leadership required for complicated and complex problems—and the challenges facing organizations and their leaders in achieving this."

Police Leadership for Complex Times
Victoria Herrington Andrew Colvin
Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, Volume 10, Issue 1, 1 March 2016, Pages 7–16, https://doi.org/10.1093/police/pav047
Published: 31 December 2015

View the full paper here.

* Australian Institute of Police Management, PO Box 168, Manly NSW 1655, Australia
** Australian Federal Police, PO Box 401, ACT 2601, Australia

© The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.
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