Comparing the impact of authentic leadership on Italian and UK police officers’ discretionary power, well-being and commitment

Benjamin Farr-Wharton,, Yvonne Brunetto, PARESH WANKHADE, Chiara Saccon, Matthew Xerri

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This paper compares the impact of leadership behaviours on the discretionary power, well-being, and affective commitment of police officers from Italy and the United Kingdom (UK). In contrast to Italy, UK is an example of a core-New Public Management (NPM) country that has implemented reforms, in turn, changing the management and administration of public organizations. Consequently, it is expected that there will be significant differences in the behaviour of police officers. In particular, the paper examines the antecedents and outcomes of police officers’ well-being. The study involves collecting and analyzing survey data using Structural Equation Modelling from 220 Italian and 238 UK police officers. There was a significant path from Leadership to Discretionary Power to Employee Wellbeing to Affective Commitment – at least for the Italian sample. There was no have a significant link between leadership and discretionary power for the UK. Discretionary power was low for both groups as was affective commitment. Authentic leadership and discretionary power explained approximately a third of well-being, particularly discretionary power. Together, directly and indirectly (mediated by well-being), they explained at least a third of police officer commitment to their organization. Well-being appears to be the key to ensuring effective police officers.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPolicing: An International Journal of Police Strategies and Management
Early online date25 Jan 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Jan 2021


  • Authentic Leadership
  • Affective Commitment
  • Employee Wellbeing
  • Conservation of resource theory
  • Street level bureaucracy
  • Discretionary Power


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