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Nationwide Survey of the Use of Leadership Frames

NCJ Number
Campus Law Enforcement Journal Volume: 31 Issue: 2 Dated: March/April 2001 Pages: 17-20,36
Ross A. Wolf
Date Published
5 pages
This article reports on the findings of a 1998 survey that sought information on leadership styles of campus safety directors at American 4-year higher education institutions.
The survey was interested in better understanding the leadership and management of these directors as well as the demographics of individuals serving in these positions in the United States. The survey sample consisted of the 343 directors of campus safety identified at American 4-year public institutions listed in the 1997-98 Membership Directory of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators. The survey based its analysis of leadership styles on the four leadership frames conceptualized by Bolman and Deal (1991b). These are the "structural" frame, which emphasizes the importance of formal roles and relationships, organizational division of labor, and the creation of hierarchies; the "human resource" frame, which is based on the basic premise that organizations are composed of people who have needs, feelings, and prejudices, thus requiring a constant assessment of how organizational needs are interacting with employee needs; the "political" frame, which focuses on the struggle between various interest groups and the competition of power and scarce resources; and the "symbolic" frame, which views organizations as tribes or theaters, in which metaphors, rituals, and ceremonies help to create a culture for the organization. The survey results showed that most campus safety directors varied their approach to problems and situations by altering their leadership frame. The human resource frame was the primary frame used by the directors; the structural frame was the second most often used frame. The use of the human resource frame means that directors incorporate open communication, collaboration, team building, and opportunities for personal growth into the operation of the organization. The political and symbolic frames were the least used frames. These findings suggest that in order to have a balanced approach to leadership, professional development programs for campus safety directors should place more emphasis on the political and symbolic frames, which are necessary to address many of the factors and influences that bear upon the effectiveness of campus-security policies and practices.


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