Ed.D. Dissertations

Date of Award

11-6-2019

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

College

College of Education

Department

Education

Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.

Faculty Chair

James Therrell, Ph.D.

Content Specialist

Alicia Holland, Ed.D.

Content Reader

Monica Nagy, Ed.D.

Keywords

leadership, morale, retention rates, turnover rates, law enforcement agencies, law enforcement officers

Abstract

Law enforcement agencies employ officers who are driven to serving and protecting their communities. However, officers are not only tasked with serving and protecting, but also with dealing with issues of low morale within their law enforcement agencies. The issue of low morale resulting in high turnover rates, and issues with law enforcement agencies struggling with retention rates, is not new, nor is the issue of low morale within law enforcement agencies. This study emphasizes the relationship between leadership and morale, rather than the common factors of stress, pay, benefits, and hours. The study explored 3 factors among law enforcement agencies: (a) leadership and morale, (b) retention rates, and (c) turnover rates. The researcher surveyed 259 law enforcement officers in South Carolina utilizing a Likert-type survey. The officers who participated in the survey came from 4 various law enforcement agencies in 4 varying geographical locations. These agencies ranged in size from small, medium, and large. The data gathered from the survey population were analyzed using a Spearman rho correlation to measure relationships, as well descriptive statistics to further analyze data. Based on the Spearman rho correlations, a strong relationship existed between leadership and morale (p < 0.01), and morale and retention rates (p < 0.01). No relationship existed between morale and turnover rates within law enforcement agencies. Based on the results of the study, some implications from the study could include introducing and requiring annual leadership courses, offering surveys to measure agency morale, and acknowledging possible issues regarding low morale.

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