Purposeful leadership for the future police service

Ramya Yarlagadda*, Catherine Bailey, Amanda Shantz, Patrick Briône, Ksenia Zheltoukhova

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the prevalence of purposeful and ethical leadership in a UK county police force – referred to by the pseudonym PoliceOrg. The paper also evaluates the extent to which officers feel their values fit with those of the organisation, and the outcomes achieved by purposeful and ethical leaders. Design/methodology/approach: A questionnaire survey, interviews and focus groups were conducted at PoliceOrg. The findings are compared with those from a public sector case study and with a representative sample of the UK working population. Findings: Purposeful leaders at PoliceOrg have a positive impact on important outcomes for their direct reports and provide a sense of direction and guidance to those who do not feel a strong fit between their values and those of their organisation. Research limitations/implications: The study focuses on a new construct (purposeful leadership) that has not previously been explored in the academic literature. Consequently, the findings cannot be directly compared with those of other studies. The survey focused on the views of police sergeants and constables, and only one police force participated as a case study; hence, the generalisability of the findings is limited. Practical implications: Police organisations should nurture and sustain workplace environments where leaders can translate their personal moral code and ethical values into their role behaviours to address the policing challenges of the future. Originality/value: This study elucidates the concept of purposeful leadership in the context of a police force.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-208
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Emergency Services
Issue number3
Early online date6 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - 13 Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes

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