Ethics are moral principles that govern a person's behavior or the conducting of an activity Leaders are a main source of ethical guidance for their employees Leadership is often considered to be both an ethical principle and a way of creating ethical behavior that is sustained The Committee on Standards in Public Life in its Seven Principles of Public Life 2007 views leaderships as the fulcrum for which all the other principles turn to Followers will look to a leader to take responsibility when things go right and wrong A leader who leads with a high ethical standard are role models that share and express the importance of ethical standards and hold their employees accountable to those standards Leadership may be the most important step in an ethical system that is made to support ethical conduct A great leader leads the example in ethics and generate a high level of commitment from followers The way a leader is perceived by his followers both on a level of ethics and integrity are what gives their ideas and visions legitimacy and credibility What exactly are leaders leading in when it comes to morality and ethics The study of ethics is relatively new area that leaves itself open to a large range of interpretation Osifo 2016
A consequentialist leader will look at the moral value of the outcomes of their actions and deontologists will focus more on the motivation behind the action The police are considered to be the face of the criminal justice system Citizens are most likely to come into contact with a police officer before anyone else A police officer has the power authority and the ability to restrict a person's freedom of movement and use force when necessary Along with this authority society expects every action a police officer makes to be beyond discredit When misconduct occurs trust in the police is eroded and so is the perception of police departments as a legitimate entity Police misconduct has been studied for ages and has found that there are many factors including age education level sex length of service prior employment issues officer perception of misconduct seriousness and police culture and the code of silence Donnor 2016 The social control theory examines aspects that could lead to police misconduct Hirschi 1969 argues that people will conform to the norms of society and laws because of the strong social bonds they have developed To build upon this attachment in relationships plays a big role When someone cares about the opinion of another person they are less likely to engage in criminal activity Commitment is how invested someone is in a pro social lifestyle and can be considered ones willingness to maintain the stakes they have within society This theory encompasses the commitment to pro social institutions such as education and employment Those with weak bonds in this area are more likely to partake in delinquent acts
This theory was mostly studies using juveniles however it has been further studied with adults The social control theory has been looked at with occupational misconduct In theory the involvement in a pro social activity should keep someone from partaking in misconduct However it does not there are employees everywhere who partake in many forms of misconduct while on the job Donnor 2016 Misconduct in police departments usually comes from an ethical failure There is an idea that an adult cannot be taught to be ethical and that ethics training does not work so police departments are left with the problem of hiring only those who are ethically pure before hiring and hoping they never change However there are many examples of those who began ethical and ended up being criminals Every year the Department of Defense gives an annual update of the Encyclopedia of Ethical Failure with examples of federal employees who became criminals Caldwell et al 2008 The question at hand now is could ethics training have prevented some of them from becoming criminals The next question that comes up is can police be trained in ethics or should they be taught about ethics instead Caldwell et al 2008 The year 2008 saw the global financial crisis and brought about a concept of ethical leadership into the global spotlight Years later researches still ask the question has the world really recovered from the physical and psychological devastation left behind by only a few individuals within the banking and investment world Osifo 2016 The global financial crisis was only one of a growing number of unethical leadership activities in the political industrial religious public safety media and education spheres Normore 2014
Unethical leadership such as misconduct really has no boundaries However the responsibility of leadership is a double edged sword Normore 2014 states that leadership is a double edged sword because it not only provides the opportunity for doing good but also easily gives the opportunity and temptation for advancing one's own needs This often happens at the expense and needs of others Therefore it is now understandable why the more contemporary definitions of leadership include the responsibility of achieving an outcome that meets the needs of all According to Branson 2014 the desire for ethical leadership foes not translate necessarily into actually having ethical leadership It is also noted that character development plays an extremely vital role in a leader's life In today's media every action done by a police officer is scrutinized whether they were in the right or not As a result of this public trust in police organizations is at an all time low Communities are looking for police leaders that are deep innate and instinctive so that they will not lose direction in the face of uncertainty or external pressures Normore 2014 It is
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