How do Croatian Police Officers Perceive Certain Characteristics of Police Management?
To explore the importance and existence of Croatian police managers’ relevant characteristics from the perspective of police officers, and in relation to several police officers’ demographic and professional characteristics.
A convenience sample of 132 Croatian police officers (104 males) who attended a study programme in criminal investigation (average age 31.5 years) was examined by means of a questionnaire that – within Katz’s skill theory of successful management – assesses the perceived importance and the perceived existence of technical/expert, social and strategic knowledge/skills, as well as the most representative characteristics of current police managers.
A dominant perception of the highest level of importance for all three categories of managerial knowledge/skills was detected, while possession of the said skills was mainly assessed to be at the medium level. The largest difference was found between the perceived importance and the perceived possession of social skills. Social skills were also perceived to be significantly more important than the other ones, while police managers were perceived to most frequently possess expert skills. Out of 12 offered police manager characteristics, the most frequently selected were negative ones. Finally, there were no significant and systematic effects of demographic and professional factors on the perceived importance and perceived possession of any of the three knowledge/skills categories.
Research Limitations / Implications:
A larger and more representative sample would ensure the study’s greater external validity and statistical power. Additional management skill items are needed in the questionnaire to improve the construct validity (besides including other relevant factors and questions useful for interpreting the trends detected).
Within the research limitations, the findings suggest possible changes to the education system, staff assessment and police officers’ promotion.
This is the first police management research in Croatia and probably the first generally within the framework of Katz’s skill theory of successful management.
Keywords: police officers, perception, police management, categories of knowledge or skills