The capability of leaders to actively create mechanisms and measures to continuously enhance their field of expertise can pave the way for a deeper concentration and application of services among individuals. Thus, the incorporation of the Code of Ethics can be a necessary bridge in enhancing these goals. In addition, its incorporation in the overall policy can also improve interpersonal communication, work-related stress and career development.
The creation of a code of ethics in a work environment usually varies depending on the institution and/or organizations overall aims and objectives. It usually is made to address the level of professionalism necessary in separating private and work-related activities. This paper seeks to show and elaborate on the way the code of ethics has helped in addressing and bridging the issues of (1) interpersonal communication, (2) stress management and (3) career development. In addition, it shall focus on the law enforcement sector and how their codes of ethics seek to address these issues.
Having worked under the police force for 10 years, the experience proved to be a mixture of both trials and success. Being under a law enforcement agency, you are bounded by different rules and regulations that seem to impart a disciplined approach to each individual employed within. The Code of Conduct is one of the many rules that are mandated to be followed by each member of the organization. These rules may seem to restrict certain freedoms and actions but on the other hand it has also helped cultivate our roles and duties as leaders and primary movers of society in accordance to our rules and regulations. In addition to these, the methods become clearly defined due to the existence of the code of conduct, which paves the way for an easier implementation and application of rules within and outside the organization.
The capabilities of each individual to communicate with the environment and its surroundings cover the realm of interpersonal communication. “Interpersonal communication involves understanding the dynamics of sending and receiving verbal and nonverbal messages” (Pritchett, 1993, p.1). In the realm of the law enforcement agency, the capability of each police force to reach out to the community and project an image of security and stability is the way interpersonal communication can be possible. “The ability of police personnel to communicate with the general public affects their image and the public’s reactions to the police force.” (Pritchett, 1993, p.1)
Then there is of course the importance of improving the image and the way police force handles their everyday activities. There is an importance in the way police officers project themselves since they are considered public and respectable figures. “The manner in which officers present themselves, both verbally and nonverbally, has a great impact on their professional image.” (Pritchett, 1993, p.1)
For law enforcers to become effective and efficient leaders in this area, they must be able to address the realm of interpersonal communication. This means that law enforcers must actively create measures in enhancing and developing communication not only within the departments but also outside the force and community. The creation of a Code of Conduct also helps facilitate the way police communicate with people. It sets a higher standard of how people should communicate and at the same time giving opportunities for the law enforcement to exercise their responsibilities within the community.
Another issue to be considered is the cultural diversity in the workplace. The application of the law now is depended on the way policeman exercise and judge the actual committing of the violence. It is through here that prejudice and bias comes in. As people become more and more acquainted with American culture, the more that they can see the way people are treated unequally. Thus there is a need for the police force to understand the cultural diversity present so that they can create a more sensitive outlook in the way each one enforces the law.
With this, there must be an adequate response to cultural diversity within such workplace. Policemen should understand that the communication process within cultures vary and are different. “The communicative process, while different for each culture, is comprised of essentially three components–language, culture, and ethnicity” (Pritchett, 1993, p.1) Thus, sensitivity and awareness is an important factor to consider when looking into the way each one handles a specific case.
“Awareness of these cultural rules enables officers to be sensitive and responsive to the expectations and restrictions governing the communication process of the culture” (Pritchett, 1993, p.1) In addition, police should be aware of the way they present their actions, being adaptive to the way these people act can help facilitate a better communication process. “In contact cultures, physical closeness, occasional touching, and frequent gesturing are important and desired components of the communication process” (Pritchett, 1993, p.1).
To achieve such objective, there must be a constant training between members of the police force. This enables them to become adaptive to the environment they are in. Each one must create a communication skills training. “To communicate effectively, police officers must gain an understanding of the myraid of verbal and nonverbal message elements that are communicated consciously and subconsciously by the participants in all interactions” (Pritchett, 1993, p.1). It is through the creation of these issues that people can enhance the way they communicate with other people and practice effective implementation of the rule of law. “Therefore, an effective communication training program begins with efforts to change the attitude of all employees within the police agency” (Pritchett, 1993, p.1).
Another issue that is deemed to be important is the way policemen handle stress. This is vital in the process because they are the ones who implement the law. Thus, the rigorous task of fulfilling their roles often gets the hang of them. There needs to be an important part of achieving a controlled stress environment particularly in the field of law enforcement. Since they are tasked to handle law related issues, the way they showcase their power to other people can be vital to either success or failure of their objectives.
The depth of the way stress hounds policemen are often difficult to ascertain however they prove to be difficult and heavy compared to other professions. “”Policing is a psychologically stressful work environment filled with danger, high demands, ambiguity in work encounters, human misery and exposure to death,”” (Baker, 2004, p.1) In addition, there seems to be little literature to explain the way policeman treat and address stress related activities. “Despite the large size of this workforce nationwide and the strain of this occupation, the police are understudied in terms of work influence on psychological well-being and physical health,” (Baker, 2004, p.1).
Digging in deeper, the nature of stress in the police force seems to emanate within their work description itself, however this is a misconception since people mix up their viewed stressors compared to the reality. “The stereotypical picture of police stress as consisting primarily of exposure to physical danger from criminals is fading, at least within the academic literature if not in popular accounts”(Ganster et. al., 1996, p.1). On the other hand, the real contributors for the stress police men are feeling are the organizational factors. “A myriad of surveys of police stress point to the important role of what might be termed organizational or management factors, in contrast to physical or emotional threats encountered during fieldwork” (Ganster et. al., 1996, p.1).
As leaders we are given the power and responsibility to look over people’s actions. However, such idea can also be a tool for a stressful environment as each one tries to make up for the challenge of becoming a good leader. “A source of stress made more insidious by its chronic nature and the pervasiveness of its impact on the officer’s work life and career stability arises out of the constellation of management practices and policies characterizing many police organizations” (Ganster et. al., 1996, p.1).
The creation of the code of conduct can either create a more stressful or less stressful environment. It actually depends on the capability of the individual to cope up with the way each one with the tasks prescribed within the code of conduct. Thus, it is a challenge for leaders to actively create mechanisms that will lessen the stress within the workplace. “However, leader behaviors might still be important in determining what effects these external stresses have on the well being of officers” (Ganster et. al., 1996, p.1).
Key leader behaviors are also important in determining the way the police force copes up with stress. It is through this that they begin to experience how to actively create mechanisms that will enhance the potential of people below them and at the same time minimizing the occurrence of stress within the organization. Thus, the application of an appropriate leadership style can help facilitate the changes necessary for the sustenance and growth of the division. It was stated in the study that “these leadership styles can have direct effects on mental and physical health as well as indirectly affecting these outcomes through their effects on the levels of social support and personal control that police officers experience on their job” (Ganster et. al., 1996, p.1).
In the realm of career development, leadership is also necessary in this field to attract potential workers in the organization. This is to ensure the sustenance of the organization in promoting and creating necessary means to facilitate improvements in different areas. Leaders must realize the changing and evolving times today so that they may correctly incorporate several ideas in the program in enhancing their career development. “As a result, the “labor market” of the past is quickly becoming a “work dynamic” that is difficult to encapsulate with occupational dictionaries, codes, or titles” (Redekopp, D., 1995, p.1)
Career development is never a one step process, it is a continuous and developing procedures that captivates and influences the way people shape their future. With proper incorporation of a career development, learning is possible and opportunities are endless. “People who have had limited success with formal learning are anxious about “lifelong learning” and need to know that most learning does not occur in formal settings” (Redekopp, D., 1995, p.1)
The creation of a code of ethics can also help facilitate improvements in career development. Since the rules are there and needs to be followed, creating career development should never be anymore voluntary but on the other hand be supplementary to the needs of different individuals. “In today’s competitive environment, it is imperative that all organizations create a work environment which fosters growth and development” (Merchant, R.C., p.2)
Leaders, for their part should enhance employee motivation. This improves employee development and creates improvement in work. “An organization’s ability to understand and address these needs will result in higher levels of job satisfaction and enhanced performance by its employees” (Merchant, R.C., p.5)
Another important factor to consider is the managerial styles exhibited by leaders in the realm of policing. Managers must actively create mechanisms that will enhance their people’s capability to work under the organization. It with this that “the most effective managers are those who realize that employee commitment and productivity are directly related to the organization’s overall effectiveness” (Merchant, R.C., p.7)
Another thing that creates career development is the technological changes within the workforce and the organization. Career development programs can help enhance the way people view and address these technological changes. “Employees would be able to make practical career decisions based upon the organization’s current and future needs.” (Merchant, R.C., p.8)
To conclude, the three factors given are indeed important in shaping leadership capabilities among members of the police force. The Code of Ethics serves as an important factor in determining the success and development of such three factors. In the end, leaders can use the Code of Ethics as a tool in facilitating mechanisms for change.
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