Leading change in policing: Police culture and the psychological contract

Vernon White, Susan Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
317 Downloads (Pure)


Police leaders have a complex and challenging role in which they balance a variety of demands related to operational areas while simultaneously managing the needs of the organisation for the future. In addition, the role of policing is constantly changing and is a much more complex role than in years and decades gone by. To effectively fill this broader and more complex role, police on the ground need leaders that are flexible and who possess a broad range of consolidated policing skills and experience. The psychological contract is an important consideration in managing change. The psychological contract contains the spoken and tacit beliefs, understandings and obligations between the employer and employee, often setting out the dynamics of the relationship itself and the manner in which it operates. Breaching the psychological contract can have negative consequences for the organisation. It is argued that by developing and maintaining clearly articulated and widely circulated organisational expectations, the police leader can overtly manage the psychological contract making the management of change easier to accomplish. In the truest sense, this is leading the way for the future of policing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-269
Number of pages12
JournalThe Police Journal: Theory, Practice and Principles
Issue number4
Early online date2013
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014


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