The Victoria Police And Chief Commissioner Commerce Essay

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Simon Overland is the current and 20th Chief Commissioner of the Victoria Police (Victoria Police, 2009). Overland rose to the rank of Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police in March 2009 after starting his policing career in 1984 and undergoing periods as a Constable, Superintendent, policy adviser, Chief Operating Officer, Assistant Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner in a number of police organisations throughout Australia. As the top-ranked Victorian police officer, it is Overland's duty to facilitate and oversee the whole of the Victorian police force and its members. Appointed by the State Government, Overland is the most senior person at Victoria Police and is fully accountable for its operations at all times (Victoria Police, 2009).

Under Overland, the Victoria Police's function is to provide a 24-hour policing service to the Victorian community. Its job is to contribute to a high quality of life to all individuals and fortify the cultural and economic wellbeing of all Victorians by ensuring safety and security throughout society. Its strategies include reducing crime, increasing road safety, and maintaining harmonious relationships with the community at large (Victoria Police, 2009).

Overland's Leadership Style

The nature of Overland's position and the type of objectives pursued by the police organisation entail a strong emphasis on performance and task accomplishment (Victoria Police, 2009), leading to the manifestation of a task-oriented style of leadership. Due to the increasingly high value of personal security and the importance of safety, as perceived by people in general (Stephenson, 2009), police are expected to perform their duties and tasks of protecting that sense of safety to a high degree of satisfaction. Thus, Overland has a strong commitment and drive towards accomplishing main objectives such as reducing high volume crimes like theft from motor vehicles and assaults (Overland, 2009). Overland's primary concern to ensure that members of the police force strive to achieve its targets and perform at a high level illustrates a task-oriented quality to his leadership (Waddell, Devine, Jones, George, 2007).

Furthermore, The Victoria Police, under Overland, aims to develop the skills and capabilities of its members through an extensive education and training regime (Victoria Police, 2009) with the purpose of engaging the commitment of its employees. This is to prepare them for the extraordinary and unknown challenges and tasks that await them in the world of law enforcement and protecting the safety of the community. "Victoria Police encourages the ongoing learning and development of its members, with many in-house training courses available to employees" (Victoria Police, 2010). Training involves law and policing procedures, communication skills, computing, drills, water safety, defensive tactics, firearms, and physical education (Victoria Police, 2009). Overland's dedication to developing and building the capacity and competence of police force members, whilst invoking a high level of commitment, exemplifies his inclination towards an engaging style of leadership (Dulewicz, Higgs, 2004).

Additionally, Overland's intention to look after the interests of employees as well as the organisation as a whole reflects a paternalistic leadership style tendency (Wikipedia, 2010). The morale and satisfaction of members of the police force is kept high to ensure the highest levels of effort and performance (Tomazin, 2010). To illustrate, police staff are rewarded with reasonable salary and benefits such as leave entitlements and work-life flexibility (Victoria Police, 2009). The attrition rate within the police force of less than 4 per cent a year is a solid and sound indication of the strong devotion towards morale and drive within the force (Tomazin, 2010). The employee-oriented management approach shown by Overland is a testament to his paternalistic sense of leadership (Wikipedia, 2010).

Finally, with Overland at the helm, the police force remains a highly authoritarian organisation, engulfed in bureaucracy (The Age, 2010). The bureaucratic characteristics of the police force allows for effectiveness, efficient allocation of resources and supervision of personnel (Cole et. al, 2008). For instance, Victoria Police has a strict hierarchy of authority provided through its ranking system, from Constable up to Chief Commissioner, where promotion is based on merit (Victoria Police, 2010). The force also divides labour into departments such as Traffic and Transit, Forensic services, and crime prevention (Victoria Police, 2008), and also upholds strict adherence to formal rules and procedures, shown by its strict training, qualification and promotional prerequisites (Victoria Police, 2010). The division of labour, hierarchy, formal rules and procedures, and promotion based on merit are all typical characteristics of a bureaucracy (Waddell et al., 2007).

Leadership Style Advantages

Task-oriented leaders, like Overland, are most effective when organisational situational characteristics such as leader-member relations, task structure and position power are at extreme ends of the scale (Waddell et al., 2007). As the main focus of an organisation to perform highly supersedes the alternative of establishing strong relationships, in unusual and uncertain times, it is more likely to endure the hardships more successfully (Waddell et al., 2007). For example, if a leader's subordinates do not like or trust the leader (poor leader-member relations), the tasks are complex (low task structure) and the leader has minimal control over rewards and punishments (weak position power), it may be more appropriate and effective for the leader to be focused on achieving tasks at hand rather than trying to develop good relationships with his/her staff (Waddell et al., 2007). Task-oriented leaders are more advantageous in more acute organisational situations.

Engaging leaders are more beneficial to organisations that are subject to rapid change and instability (Dulewicz et al., 2004). The onus on organisations to build and develop the capabilities and competence of its employees better equips them for a greater variety of challenges and tasks that they may be required to face (Dulewicz et al., 2004). This is particularly important for members of the police force, due to the significance of their duty to protect the safety of society, the wide range of tasks they are expected to perform and the continually changing environment in which we live (Victoria Police, 2009). Organisations that experience great volatility and wide-ranging challenges require a broader range of skills and capabilities, which may be nurtured through engaging leadership (Dulewicz et al., 2004).

Paternalistic leadership has its advantages in the modern organisational scene. This style of leadership, strongly based on consideration (Waddell et al., 2007), engenders employee loyalty and leads to lower employee turnover (Wikipedia, 2010). A lower staff turnover level indicates higher morale among organisational members, leading to higher performance levels, maintenance of its base of experience and lower recruitment and training costs (MCB UP, 2002). The low annual attrition rate in the Victoria Police of around 4 per cent (Tomazin, 2010) reflects how its paternalistic style of leadership, through a multitude of employment benefits, has lead to high morale and satisfaction levels. The high level of loyalty and morale prevalent in the Victoria Police reflects the benefits of a paternalistic style of leadership.

The characteristics of a bureaucratic leadership provide certain advantages for organisations in today's environment (Waddell et al., 2007). When organisations implement bureaucratic principles such as division of labour, hierarchy of authority, formal rules and procedures and promotion and selection based on merit, their performance will improve (Waddell et al., 2007). By establishing rules, standard operating procedures, and specifying positions within an organisation, managers find it easier to organise and control the work of subordinates and more effectively accomplish tasks (Waddell et al., 2007). In addition, fair selection and promotion systems improve the sense of security, stress levels, and ethics to further the performance of an organisation (Waddell et al., 2007). In the Victoria Police, "The Victoria Police Manual" is a comprehensive guide to procedures that ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of policing (Wikipedia, 2010). Overall, the employment of bureaucracy has the potential to improve organisational functioning (Waddell et al., 2007)

Leadership Style Disadvantages

A task-oriented style of leadership has its disadvantages in some situations (Waddell et al., 2007). When a leader of an organisation is primarily focused on performing tasks to a high standard, the quality of interpersonal relationships may suffer (Waddell et al., 2007). For particular situations, especially when employees thrive on building strong interpersonal relationships, this may lead to sub potential achievement (Waddell et al., 2007). For example, Lawrence Fish, a relationship-oriented leader, led his organisation to triple its size in three years whilst acknowledging the importance of good relationships (Waddell et al., 2007). Some situations call for an alternative to a task-oriented leadership manner to thrive and succeed.

An engaging leadership style also has drawbacks in certain organisational environments (Dulewicz et al., 2004). It is less effective and less common in relatively simple and straightforward contexts in which a leader sets a direction and delivers clearly understood results (Dulewicz et al., 2004). Due to the relative stability and predictability of some environments, less employee autonomy and competency is required, whilst more leader direction is needed to achieve key objectives and to attain the desired performance level (Dulewicz et al., 2004). For instance, a factory worker with a small number of repetitive tasks requires less training and more directing towards the goals that need to be achieved to ensure higher performance. On the other hand, a police officer may encounter a wide range of issues while on duty and will need to rely more on their training and capabilities rather than direct orders from a superior officer (Victoria Police, 2010). Thus, there is less leadership emphasis on training and development in simple and straightforward environments. Although an engaging style of leadership is useful in certain situations, it may radiate weakness in stable and non-volatile contexts (Dulewicz et al., 2010).

Paternalistic leadership may also exhibit negative aspects. When subordinates become accustomed to receiving direction from their superiors, they may become overly dependent on their leaders and require more supervision (Wikipedia, 2010), resulting in higher costs. Furthermore, supervision can be detrimental to organisations when subordinates are independent thinkers and work best when left alone (Waddell et al., 2007). The lack of subordinate participation in the decision-making process may have a negative impact on the willingness and motivation of workers, resulting in low productivity (Waddell et al., 2007). The authoritarian nature of paternalistic leadership may be a disadvantage to organisations.

Bureaucracy often has a negative stereotype and is often considered a restriction to the growth and development of an organisation (Waddell et al., 2007). It entails slow and inefficient decision-making due to its strict adherence to rules and procedures and hierarchy of authority, known as 'red-tape' (Waddell et al., 2007). Bureaucracies are also less able to cope with change and volatility in the business environment due to their lack of flexibility and stringent reliance on rules (Waddell et al., 2007). In addition, it deters creativity and innovation (Waddell et al., 2007). Bachelard describes bureaucracy as "the dead hand…bearing down to prevent crucial cultural changes from taking place" (Bachelard, 2010) whilst commenting on the inefficiency and ineffectiveness of the Bushfire Royal Commission. As a result of all these characteristics, bureaucracy can harm an organisation.

Christine Nixon

Christine Nixon is a daughter of a police officer. She was Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police between 23 April 2001 and 27 February 2009 leading 14,000 staff, who operates across more than 500 locations. She oversaw a budget of $1.7 billion and she was the first female Governor (Linnell, 2010). When she was appointed, she said she may face resistance in some quarters but improving police morale will be a priority. After leaving Victoria Police, Nixon took on responsibility for the Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority.

Christine Nixon Leadership Style

Christine Nixon was often described more as a bureaucrat and politician than policewoman. Most of her career had been spent in education and human resources. In my opinion, the management of Christine Nixon belongs to people-oriented leadership. This is the opposite of task-oriented leadership.

After she was appointed to be the Chief Commissioner of the Victoria Police, Christine tried to make a difference for women. So she set an ambitious program to substantially increase the ratio of female Victoria Police officers. Female are able to be the police too. Christine Nixon would often say police used "their brains, capsicum spray and batons in brawls and other confrontations, not their size, age or gender" (Christine Nixon, 2010). Some perspective had stand up with the view that policing was, is and will be a profession and career that encourages, respects and utilizes the strengths of women. And while Nixon scrapped many of the so-called obstacles such as age, height and weight restrictions which prevented women from joining Victoria Police. In fact, women, on average, scored higher than men in the selection process. Under her guide, the most of people gradually realized that policing - in basic terms - was a man's domain was out of mode.

For her insistence it had a real commitment to domestic violence issues in the police, to child abuse issues and to bringing them out and having them dealt with far better than they had been. And she also focused on education of the child.

Christine Nixon has an open mind, and she respects the life people choose. For instance, Nixon is heterosexual but joined the gay-pride march to express her support for gay and lesbian causes, stating "What I'm doing is supporting decent and reasonable people who want to get on with their lives, and they have been treated appallingly previously by the Police, and I'm prepared to do something about it. And if it's a small symbol of marching with them, then that would be a reasonable thing to do." (Nixon, 2010)

With her lead, the relationship between citizen and the police has become better. 85% of the population trusts the police now, which is amazing.

Leadership Style Advantage

With people-oriented leadership, leaders are totally focused on organizing, supporting, and developing the people in their teams (Foti & Hauenstein, 2007). It's a participative style, and it tends to encourage good teamwork and creative collaboration. Using this style is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength. And it means that your employees are respectable. It makes everyone in the group feel that they are one part of the team. What is more, it allows the leader to make better decisions.

Bureaucracy bloomed under Christine Nixon. In this way, Nixon, two deputy commissioners, executive director, chief information officer and her personal media adviser, they met either once a week or fortnight. Its purpose was to provide advice to the six standing committees above and direction to senior staff in relation to significant issues.

The whole selection process for the deputy roles was typical of Christine Nixon's reign. The assistant commissioners were given an opportunity one by one to spend two or three months acting in the role, settling on Walsh and Overland.

People-oriented leaders know their employees' strengths and weaknesses and they place people in positions according to them in order to take advantage of the positive characteristics. The people-oriented leaders, who are also technically competent in their jobs, inspire their members also. These leaders are often the reasons why people remain loyal to an organization. Great leaders know what the mission is and they know how to accomplish it. And they also know that the key to achieving goals and accomplishing tasks is the people they supervise.

It creates a team environment based on trust and respect, which leads to high satisfaction and motivation and, as a result, high effective.

Leadership Style Disadvantages

The people-oriented leadership can be tricky because some team members can be suspicious of the leaders fearing manipulation and/or exploitation. If the team is lack of trust and goodwill, it is hard to keep moving on.

Under Nixon, projects were often left to roll along for not enough robust accountability. In fact, a review of existing projects at the time made some damning conclusions. In fact , there were too many projects. A large number had fallen so far behind schedule they were deemed significant investment risks.

Throughout the 2000s, there was a range of counter-terrorism committees to take part in. These things made people tired easily, and they would like to make a breath. In her management, she took all responsibility away from her two deputies. So the deputies were paid more yet had no direct responsibility. It became a running joke.

The managements are presented with two seemingly incompatible leadership styles. One of them is older called "command-and-control". The other is a kind of milk-and-water version(Bens,2006), with the sense of personal responsibility entirely removed, but with the stirring personal testimonies and exhortations left in.

To build this leadership, it needs the leader to spend much effort and time to make people trust each other. And because it bases on the trust and respect between people, so it really very easy to make the work environment too relaxed and fun that makes the tasks suffers due to lack of direction and control.


Task-Oriented leaders, as Overland, focus only on getting the job done,

and they can be quite autocratic. The leaders believe that they get results by consistently keeping people busy and urging them to produce. And they actively define the work and the roles required, put structures in place, plan, organize, and monitor. But they do not think much about the well-being of their teams, so it has difficulties in motivating and retaining staff. But in aspect of setting goals and managing tasks, it does better than the latter.

People-oriented leaders, like Nixon, are concerned about the human needs of their employees. They build teamwork, help employees with their problems, and provide psychological support. They also make staff feel warm and they are always supportive in themselves. Compared to the task-oriented, they are more hand-off with regards to the tasks.

Task and relationship orientations are not linear process.The evidence shows that leaders who are considerate in their leadership style are higher performers and are more satisfied with their job (Bens, 2006). We must know that the two are opposite but independent of each other, thus they should not be viewed on opposite ends of a continuum. For instance, a leader who becomes more considerate does not necessarily mean that she has become less structured.


Leadership style is the manner and approach of pointing to direction, implementing plans, and motivating people. Although good leaders use all styles or some of them, but with one of them normally dominant, bad leaders tend to stick with only one style.

Leaders must be very clear about the goal of their department. Or they must be clear about the goals that many competent individuals must set for themselves and, thereby, the tasks they must set for themselves.

Once the task-oriented has blocks and the members begin to take risks by sharing information and speaking honestly about the task, the leader can shift to a people orientation.

In practice, most leaders use both task-oriented and people-oriented styles of leadership. And we must know that good leaders often switch instinctively between styles, according to the people they lead and the work they need to do. Establish mutual trust - that's key to this process - and remember to balance the needs of the organization against the needs of your team.


This thesis details two leaderships by introducing two persons who are working as the head in the police, Nikon and Overland. They are task-oriented and people-oriented. And it also separately shows the advantages and disadvantages about the two different leadership styles. At last, I compare the two styles and describe the differences and combinations between them. And then give a conclusion.


There are many methods to classify the leaderships by different professors. In my thesis, I use the theory which part leaderships into ten styles. It includes autocratic leadership, bureaucratic leadership, charismatic leadership, democratic leadership or participative leadership, laissez-faire leadership, people-oriented leadership, servant leadership, task-oriented leadership, transactional leadership, transformational leadership. And I find much information of experience about the two persons in order to definite their leaderships. Then describe them by detail. In this process, I quote many theories from other's books or thesis; I show my respect to them here. For this study,