An Issue of Police Integrity

A police officer first duty is to serve and protect. Police officers serve their communities by helping citizens in times of crimes. To guard citizens on the street, they issue violations to unsafe and reckless drivers. To care for them in their communities, they detain corrupt criminals and discourage illegal and dangerous conduct. The words serve and protect defines the assignment of the police, which is to “protect” citizens and “serve” the public.

Nowadays words appear to mean, to protect officers and serve the police force because history has proven that a percentage of police officers battle corruption time and time again. When police officers are Dishonest, there is natural suspicion as to if the police officer’s captains were aware of the corruption within their own ranks. It is a known fact that most assistance follows the characteristics of their leader, who is their role-models, on how to conduct themselves professionally in the workplace. “Their behavior reflects the norms of the organization; it conveys how things are done in the organization. Subordinates are likely to imitate supervisors since the individuals represent significant others in the organizational lives of employees.” (Huberts, Kaptein, & Lasthuizen, 2007) In this essay, I will be discussing integrity violations within the police department and how it correlates to leadership and the influencing of ethics and integrity of employees.

In the research paper titled, “A Study of the Impact of Three Leadership Styles on Integrity Violations Committed by Police Officers” by Leo Huberts, Muel Kaptein, and Karin Lasthuizen states that there is a connection between three aspects of leadership (role modeling, strictness, and openness) and the nine types of integrity violations (corruption, fraud & theft, giving /receiving gifts, job & activities outside the organization, gratuitous violence against citizens and suspects, improper investigating, manipulation of information, ill-treatment of colleagues or citizens, wastage of abuse, & misconduct whilst of duty) within the Dutch police force. More importantly, this study indicates that specific leadership qualities are needed to curtail specific integrity violations, but the greatest technique is to have a combination of all three management styles to have a more direct control on each encroachment as it occurs.

One leadership style that attracted my attention was the role model leadership quality within the police department. A role model is a person who is looked up to and revered by someone else. To be a role model, a certain set of qualities should be present. Role models should demonstrate self-assurance and leadership, communicates with everyone, has respect for others, is well-informed, and has the modesty and willingness to admit mistakes. According to the study, a role model’s leadership style has a harmful consequence of subordinates. “Role modeling had a significant influence on all types of misconduct, such as favoritism, discrimination, harassment, gossiping, and bullying.” (Huberts et al., 2007) I agree that managers that have a role model leadership style can evoke unconstructive influences on subordinates because if the role model isn’t an upstanding person then harmful traits can be taught to subordinates.

An example, of this, is the 2001 Enron scandal. Kenneth Lay was the CEO and chairman of Enron Corporation, and he was charged with 10 counts of wire fraud, securities fraud, and making bogus deceptive statements. Jeffrey Skilling was the former President of Enron Corporation and he was also accused on 35 counts insider trading, fraud, and other crimes related to the Enron scandal. These gentlemen were role models and the leaders of this grand company that once held the title of being the sixth largest energy company in the world. Although Enron had a strict code of conduct for its employees, leaders were able to still influence their top executives to engage in morally ambiguous activities by which I am certain they mirrored from Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling. The participation of these shameful actions included some of the top executives (Andrew Fastow, former CFO, Lou Pai, CEO of Enron Energy, and CEO of Enron International Stephen F. Cooper, Interim CEO and CRO) to follow along with the pessimistic actions which activated the downfall of one of the leading natural gas companies in US history. Role models have a tremendous influence on subordinates and if those actions are negative, subordinates will learn to mimic these harmful traits and damaging behavior absent of consequences.

Another point from the study that was interesting and I agreed with was similarities between the openness of a manager versus the strictness of the manager. Although both management styles are on the opposite ends of the spectrum they produced the same results because fewer integrity violations were committed by employees under both management styles. However the “police force is an organization similar to the military, we find a single-person leadership system. The style of management depends on the influences of the environment, social expectations and last, but not least, the human characteristic features and personal skills of the leader. The leadership of the police force is primarily autocratic, but there are some democratic features are also mingled into it, as the police force is now a servicing organization. The latter include that involvement of the employees and the increasing cooperation of the various branches and divisions of the force (crime fighting, policing) and the efforts aimed at surveying the demands of the customers.” (Elekes, 2014)

I concur with the study on its findings that looking at the organizational culture within a police department or any company is always dependent on the shared values and standards within that particular company. Openness in communication between managers and subordinates builds on solid relationships and helps build the organizational culture. When a manager is approachable the subordinate automatically feels comfortable with speaking to the manager about issues within the workplace. This may not hold true for strict managers, given that subordinates will not feel comfortable speaking candidly, and will think twice before committing an act that is in violation with company policy. Both management styles have limited integrity violations, but I believe that that only having a strict management style will have a direct impact on how successful a company is, and how happy subordinates are within the workplace. In turn, this will eventually limit the success of the organization, which will impact subordinates in the future.

An example of the limited success of a well-known company due to strict management style is Apple Inc. Apple is a very flourishing international technology company that was founded in 1976 by Steve Jobs. The reason for the limited success is because of Steve Jobs autocratic management style. His autocratic management style leads employees to have an increased fear that Steve Jobs would fire them instantaneously for any misstep. He would lash out unexpectedly, even at his closest friends, and commanded loyalty. (Howell, 2013) Despite Apple’s success and longevity, founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates has exceeded Apple and became a household name, whereas Apple’s Macintosh became antiquated. The primary reason for Apple’s success is due to the creation of I-Phone and related products that is in such high demand. When Bill Gates publicized that he would retire two years ahead of schedule, there was no distress to the future outlook of Microsoft. In comparison to when it was revealed that Steve Job’s was sick, it raised serious doubt about Apple’s future. The key long-term success of Microsoft, in comparison to the partial success of Apple, highlights the competence of a positive attitude to deal with a variety of circumstances.

An example of a company whose leadership style is more open and approachable would be Microsoft. Founder, Bill Gates prides himself on his participative leadership style and the empowering of his subordinates. Gates believed in the power of innovation and empowered his subordinates to innovate in products, process, markets, or any other area. He placed the company as a platform for people to build on their strengths. Gates created an effective system that placed the right information in the right hands, allowing people to understand what was going on, and make plans accordingly. Through developing amazing products, he was able to connect people, process, and technology by allowing a more seamless process. By continuing to have innovated products allowed the company to adapt to the ever-changing markets effectively. Bill Gates is the epitome of a transformational leader. This type of “leadership style where the leader causes a change in individual and social systems” (Hawkins, 2014)

Leaders need to adapt to the changing environment and situations within an organization whether it be a police organization or a Private/ Public Sector Company. Integrity violations require leaders assessment followed by the appropriate disciplinary action. Leaders need to be role models by leading by example and guiding subordinates on proper conduct within the company. They also need to have exercise openness towards subordinates so they can feel comfortable speaking with them regarding any ethical issues. “A lack of communication can easily lead to lack of trust, giving way to unwanted negative rumors and poor engagement among employees.” (Chachra, 2015) A combination of all three management styles (openness, strict, role model) is needed for the ever-changing situations that may arise.

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An Issue Of Police Integrity. (2019, May 13). Retrieved July 28, 2021 , from
https://studydriver.com/an-issue-of-police-integrity/

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