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Effect of First-Line Supervision on Patrol Officer Job Satisfaction

NCJ Number
Police Quarterly Volume: 18 Issue: 2 Dated: June 2015 Pages: 193-219
Date Published
June 2015
27 pages

This study examined the extent to which attitudinal dimensions associated with supervisor and officer styles explain subordinate officers' job satisfaction levels.


The results provide little empirical support for the average police leadership framework. After controlling for demographics and officer perceptions of work and organizational environments, sergeant style dimensions failed to exert a top-down effect on subordinate officer job satisfaction; however, support was found for the person-supervisor fit framework. Specifically, when sergeant and officer views were congruent in the areas of support relations and expectations of aggressive enforcement, officers were more satisfied with their jobs. On the other hand, when sergeants viewed aggressive enforcement as important, but officers did not, officers were less satisfied. Finally, the patterning of results from a subsample analysis suggest that supervisory influences are more pronounced in the early stages of the officer-sergeant relationship. Practical implications associated with the person-supervisor fit framework are discussed. Two frameworks, the average leadership style and person-supervisor fit, were implemented and tested. Survey data of 765 patrol officers and 146 patrol sergeants across five departments were used. (Publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: June 1, 2015