Using focus groups, this study examined whether there were differences in the ethical perspectives of "strategic" and "operative" managers in the Slovenian police.
In the Slovenian police, "strategic" managers are at the top of the managerial hierarchy; they are responsible for developing strategies and policies that are implemented by "operative" managers, whose responsibility involves guiding front-line police officers in implementing in the field these strategies and policies. The findings confirmed the study's main hypothesis, i.e., the ethical perspectives of the strategic managers did not differ significantly from those of the operative managers. Three other study hypotheses were also confirmed. First, strategic and operative managers did not differ significantly in their responses to vignettes that involved ethical dilemmas they might encounter in their work. Second, strategic and operative managers had similar attitudes toward those who had the most powerful influence on individuals' ethical values in Slovenia. Third, both groups agreed that the most effective way to influence the ethical behavior of police employees was to have training programs on professional ethics and personal attitudes. The study involved two focus groups. One consisted of 24 strategic managers. The second focus group was composed of 325 operative police managers. Members of each group were mailed the same questionnaire with an accompanying letter that explained the purpose of the research. A total of 235 completed questionnaires were received, 14 from the strategic management group and 221 from the operative management group. Included on the questionnaire were 10 vignettes that described ethical dilemmas that the managers might encounter in their work. Respondents were asked to indicate whether the behaviors in the vignettes were "fair"/"unfair" or "right"/"wrong." A scale from one to five was provided for each response. 13 tables, 15 figures, and 12 references