International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Contextual Leadership: An Examination of the Leadership Style Preferences of American Police Supervisors Using the Vannsimpco Leadership Survey
Eric R. Watters

The leadership style preferences of American police supervisors were investigated. Data were collected from 597 respondents using an adapted version of the Vannsimpco Leadership Survey. ANOVA and post-hoc pairwise comparisons using independent t-tests found statistically significant differences in the preferred leadership styles of police leaders at all rank levels. The democratic-transformational style was the most preferred style, while laissez-faire was the least preferred style. Spearman’s rs tests produced perfect correlations between the chief executive, senior leader, and middle manager ranks (rs [9], 1, p < 0.001) and positive correlations between the first-line supervisor rank and all other ranks (rs [9], 0.983, p < 0.001). The findings indicate that American police leaders are flexible in the leadership styles they choose to employ depending upon the context of the issue or incident they are facing, a paradigm this researcher calls contextual leadership.

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