Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. David Cowden

Second Advisor

Dr. Uldis Smidchens

Third Advisor

Dr. Zigmund Kryszak


This study sought to determine if there was an identifiable preferred leadership style used by law enforcement administrators, as represented by the county sheriffs in the state of Michigan. The study also sought to determine whether there was any relationship between certain previously identified variables and leadership style preference. Finally, the study gathered information about the background of county sheriffs.

The available literature in the field established the main hypothesis: that a humanistic style of leadership is preferred. Eight other hypotheses were developed to analyze the relationship between the variables of age, educational level, education major, years in law enforcement, years as the sheriff/administrator, size of department, administrator self-confidence, administrator self-perception, and leadership style preference.

Two instruments were used to gather data: a researcher-designed Biographical Information Questionnaire for background data and the LEAD Self questionnaire developed by Hersey and Blanchard (1974/1983) to identify a preferred leadership style. A chi-square ($\chi\sp2$) data analysis was carried out, with.05 as the level of significance (alpha).

The study supported the main hypothesis, that there is a preferred leadership style among county sheriffs, who indicated Style 2 (S$\sb2$), high task and high relationship, as their preferred leadership style. However, the eight additional hypotheses, dealing with the relationships of age, education level, education major, years in law enforcement, years as sheriff/administrator, size of department, self-confidence, and self-perception with leadership style, were not supported.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access