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Place of Ambition in the Police

NCJ Number
Police Journal Volume: 62 Issue: 4 Dated: (October-December 1989) Pages: 303-317
F J Wilkinson
Date Published
The British police service needs to focus on organizational career development and stop relying on individual ambition if it is to assure that an adequate number of satisfactory candidates apply for positions of chief of police.
However, the number of satisfactory candidates has been insufficient for several years. Research conducted since 1984 has suggested that several factors make the positions unattractive, including the inadequate salary differential, the requirement to serve past 30 years of service, the lack of assistance with relocation, and family reasons. In addition, the current lack of a system of career development means that individual motivation and ambition is the crucial factor in determining whether a leadership position will be sought. Instead of this approach, the police forces need to use management by objectives and to make it clear to individuals how their personal objectives and the organization's objectives are related. Such an approach would probably both improve the quality of each individual's work and the likelihood that more officers will seek leadership positions. Notes and appended research instrument and results.


Length: 15 pages
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