Leadership in Criminal and Justice Organizations

In the cotemporally world of a globalized era that is accompanied by ambiguity, complexity diversity, rapid change and adjustments management of any agency or organization is proving to be a difficult task. Criminal justice organizations have a critical role in the management of law and order in the society making it highly important for leaders of such organizations to show good skills of leadership. This paper will look at American criminal justice organization leadership, exploring the successful and unsuccessful leadership techniques, challenges that leaders face on a daily basis and the benefits accrues through the accountability of leaders in these organizations.

Schafer, J. A. (2010), when interrogating successful and unsuccessful leadership skill among police leaders, he indicates that leaders who abuse their power, engage in outward conduct, commit acts of corruption or are not able to shoulder the mantle of the responsibilities that come with their position of leadership are considered unsuccessful leaders. In addition, they have bad leadership skills that is not only harmful to the organization but the society in extension. He adds that for one to be considered a leader, they ought to display positive leadership traits. Einarsen et al.,2007 and Kelloway et al., 2005 in addition to what has mentioned as unsuccessful leadership skill to include, bullying, destructive behavior and abusive. A leader who displays these characteristics within criminal and justice organizations therefore may be considered to have unsuccessful leadership techniques which is coupled with negative leadership characteristics that are harmful to the organization at large. Barbara (2004b) indicates successful leadership techniques to include being benevolent, good communication skills, delegating and good decision making that involves incorporating others.

Good leadership within a criminal justice organization especially among the supervisors may help shape traditionally policing outcomes for example enforcement decisions and the use of force. It may help supervisors reduce instances of misconduct and abuse of authority (Huberts, Kaptein, & Lasthuizen, 2007; Weisburd, Greenspan, Hamilton, Williams, & Bryant, 2000). In addition, it may influence patrol officers conduct in desired manners. Study also indicates that leaders who are open and follow the rules also leading by example, achieve more favorable performance from their subordinate personnel. Evidence is indicative that effective leadership practice that is backed up by successful leadership techniques and skills equates to desired outcomes in the police organizations which falls under the criminal and justice organizations. Poor leadership is associated with mental health issues among the employees which leads to stress, helplessness, alienation, retaliation general distress and anxiety.

Criminal justice organization are faced with a number of challenges especially on the leadership. The position calls for great leadership that is able to make the right decisions in situations that may touch on the integrity of the leader and the organization at large. Decisions on taking against any form of injustice and not allowing issues slide is a form or true leadership in this organization yet still it’s from it that many challenges are drawn. The leaders are faced with challenges of noble cause corruption, which are crimes that are committed in the name of good ends. Other problems facing leaders in this organizations include conflict and power, legal and political challenges and inadequate help systems in their leadership.

Poor leadership in a criminal and justice organization has some economic implications on the organization which most often are negative. Firstly, leads to high turnover within the organization. As the employees do not get the opportunity to learn new skills and also take on new challenges. This naturally forces this employee to seek for such opportunities elsewhere. The second economic implication is directly affecting the finances of the organization through law suites and cases arising from poor leadership and decisions that in the sees the organization spend heavily in the court procedures and other payments related to the same.

There are laws that exist in the United states that serve to guide leaders in the criminal and justice organizations. These laws are entailed in the criminal justice ethics and also in the police ethics. Although this are directed to everybody serving in these organizations and departments, there are quite a number of them that offer guidance on the aspect of leadership and the overall conduct of leaders in this organizations. United States has various laws and policies that have been put in place to ensure ethical practices by law enforcement officials and also secure ethical standards within the departments. They offer a framework through which the leader and other employees work together and also serve to ensure good leadership values within the departments (Klein,2005).


Leadership is an essential part of any organization and the same can be translated to the criminal and justice organizations. Good leadership which is associated with positive leadership characteristics lead to successful leadership that, motivates, inspires and build the employees to not only achieve their goals but become a better version of themselves at the workplace. The opposite can be said about poor leadership as it is associated with a number of negative implications to the employee themselves and the organization as a whole. It farther impacts negatively on the economics of an organization leading to undesirable losses and expenses. Leadership therefor can be said to have tremendous implications on the criminal and justice organizations.






Chuck Klein (2005). “Police”. In Mitcham, Carl (ed.). Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics. Charles Scribner’s Sons, Macmillan Reference USA. ISBN 0-02-865991-0.

Einarsen, S., Aasland, M. S., & Skogstad, A. (2007). Destructive leadership behaviour: A definition and conceptual model. The Leadership Quarterly,18, 207−216

Huberts, L. W. J. C., Kaptein, M., & Lasthuizen, K. (2007). A study of the impact of three leadership styles on integrity violations committed by police officers. Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management,30, 587−607

Kelloway, E. K., Sivanathan, N., Francis, L., & Barling, J. (2005). Poor leadership. In J. Barling, E. K. Kelloway, & M. R. Frone (Eds.), Handbook of work stress (pp. 89−112). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Schafer, J. A. (2010). The ineffective police leader: Acts of commission and omission. Journal of Criminal Justice38(4), 737-746.

Weisburd, D., Greenspan, R., Hamilton, E. E., Williams, H., & Bryant, K. A. (2000). Police attitudes toward abuse of authority: Findings from a national study. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice

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