Helms School of Government
Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice (PhD)
servant leadership, characteristics, leadership, law enforcement, job satisfaction, police
Law | Leadership Studies
Shetler, Shane H., "Servant Leadership: The Change Needed in Law Enforcement" (2024). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 5193.
Servant leadership is a moral-based form of leadership in which leaders place the well-being of followers before their own (Canavesi & Minelli, 2022). It is a theory that has gained increased notoriety over the past several decades. Despite this, there remains a limited amount of empirical research on it and its potential benefits. However, several professions have adopted it, and their results have been positive. Leadership change is needed in many professions, and law enforcement is no exception. The policing profession faces many challenges, such as recruiting quality candidates and retaining existing personnel. Furthermore, the challenges plaguing policing also exert a tremendous influence on the level of job satisfaction experienced by existing employees. This study addresses servant leadership, including its origin, characteristics, and potential benefits to law enforcement. It also examines how servant leadership is currently employed in police agencies by utilizing a self-report survey administered to graduates of a nationally recognized police training program. Adopting servant leadership in law enforcement organizations offers an avenue by which identified challenges may be addressed positively.