Police Leadership as Practice  book cover
1st Edition

Police Leadership as Practice

ISBN 9781032123288
Published February 28, 2022 by Routledge
186 Pages 33 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Police Leadership as Practice applies a leadership-as-practice approach (emphasising leader-employee relationships) to law enforcement. This book provides a progressive and collaborative leadership text for students of law enforcement, as well as insights into leadership dynamics in all organisations for students and researchers of business and management.

The police leadership-as-practice perspective provides a holistic understanding of leadership in the police, identifying factors that inhibit and promote learning. It refers to four main components as dynamic and continuously evolving processes:

  • Strategies: social mission and organisation, along with strategies as practice
  • Community: organisational and police culture, identity and belonging, community of practice and competencies
  • Participation: sense-making and discretion; power and politics
  • Activities: learning as practice, change and change management as practice

Practical and enriched with case studies, examples and best practice, the textbook is also rigorously research based. Authored by a professor of business and management with specialist knowledge in police leadership, it brings the cutting edge of leadership thinking to the practicalities of policing. It is essential reading for those engaged with policing, leadership roles, and management.

Table of Contents


Part 1: Police Leadership as Practice

1. Why a Leadership-As-Practice Perspective?

2. What Do Police Leaders Do?

3. When Do Police Leaders Lead?

4. Police Leadership as Practice

Part 2: Strategy

5. Social Mission, Organisational Structure, and Goal Management

6. Strategy as Practice

Part 3: Community

7. Organisational Culture and Police Culture

8. Identity and Belonging in Communities of Practice

9. Knowing in Practice

Part 4: Participation

10. Sensemaking

11. Manoeuvring Space

12. Power and Politics

Part 5: Activities

13. Learning as Practice

14. Change Management in Practice

15. Summary

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Cathrine Filstad is Professor at Kristiania University College, Department of Leadership and Organizational Behaviour, and at the Police University College, Department of Police Leadership Education, Norway. She received her PhD in Organizational Learning and Leadership in 2003 from Aarhus School of Business, Denmark.


"Unlike other contributions to the police leadership literature, which divorce the leader from the leadership they catalyse, Filstad’s book embraces the whole in recognising police leadership is practice. Drawing on an extensive analysis and developing a framework to guide the reader, Filstad’s book is both thoughtful and thought provoking. Those interested in better understanding the messy realities, paradoxes, and tensions in contemporary police leadership will find much in this book to enjoy."

Adjunct Professor Victoria Herrington, Australian Institute of Police Management, Australia

"Police Leadership as Practice represents an important contribution to the scholarship of police leadership. Practitioners and academics alike will find much value in this comprehensive, accessible and engaging account of the complex dynamics of contemporary police leadership. Its synthesis of literature and empirical data provides an excellent foundation for understanding police leadership as a collective rather than individual practice."

Dr Tom Cockcroft, Leeds Beckett University, UK

"This research-based and insightful book shows us why a practice perspective is vital for understanding the complexity of contemporary police leadership, as well as leadership as a collective effort. Police Leadership as Practice exemplary examines the how and why of police leaders’ practice. Finally, Cathrine Filstad’s important book is essential for challenging the individual leader perspective."

Professor Ulrika Haake, Umeå Universitet, Sweden

"From a leadership-as-practice perspective, Filstad skilfully identifies the complexity of leadership and the multiple factors that shape and determine its effectiveness. An accessible read for leaders and those who aspire to leadership."

Professor Jenny Fleming, University of Southampton, UK