Date of Conferral

2017

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Public Policy and Administration

Advisor

Michael Knight

Abstract

The improper promotion of police officers who lack effective police management skills results in poor supervisor/employee relationships and could have a further negative effect on the relationships between officers and citizens. Yet, few police departments utilize leadership testing in making promotional decisions. The purpose of this quantitative, descriptive study was to explore whether servant leadership, from the perspective of police officers, is viewed as an effective leadership strategy. In particular, the focus of this study was on the element of humility as part of servant leadership theory. Data were collected by distributing the Servant Leadership Survey (SLS) to 2,794 police officers of a large metropolitan area law enforcement agency, resulting in 386 useable surveys. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and factor loading analysis. Findings indicated that most, approximately 60 percent, of police officer participants perceive that their supervisors engage in servant leadership practices related to humility. Further, findings suggest the humility score from the SLS could be used to measure perceptions from subordinates as part of a police manager promotional process. Thus, the use of the SLS Questionnaire for measuring the humility construct within the context of servant leadership was determined to serve as a robust measure. The positive social change implications stemming from this study include providing recommendations to the law enforcement executives of this agency to engage in training and promotional processes that focus on servant leadership in order to promote strong working relationships between officers and supervisors, which in turn may improve relations with the public.